Friday, 20 September 2013

Game 35: Deja Vu II - Fur Balls Unite!

Ace Harding Journal Entry 2: "I can't seem to avoid this Stogie guy! Everywhere I go he pops up to remind me how little time I have to get Malone's money. At least I'm out of Las Vegas, having won another cash to get a train ticket to Chicago. I guess I shouldn't have been surprised to find my apartment completely ransacked there, but at least they left my gun and ammo behind! Without any solid leads, I've decided to pop down to Joe's to see whether anything interesting has happened since I was last there. Let's hope I find some sort of information that helps me out of this mess I'm in. Either that or find a way to come up with the cash Malone is demanding. I'm running out of time!"


Why do I feel like I'm going to need more luck outside the casino than I did inside?

Like all MacVenture games, Deja Vu constantly makes me feel like I’ve missed something important. If you don’t think exactly the way the game wants you to, you’re simply going to miss entire locations, and even if you do find all the locations, discovering important information and items can be challenging. I feel OK about my progress so far, but I really wouldn’t have a clue whether I’ve missed something or not. My first post covered the Lucky Dice Hotel and Casino, and finished with me exiting the building to the outside world. I generally like to get a feel for my surroundings before I set off in any direction, so I “examine” each of the exits available on any screen to see where I can and can’t go. The exit to the left on this screen was described as “A sandy stretch of land lies beyond the street” and the bottom exit as “Beyond this street lies an endless tract of sand”. I figured both of these exits would lead to endless desert, but I decided to visit them just so I could rule them out as required exploring. Surprisingly, the desert screen to the left was described as “This barren wasteland goes on and on. Faint tire tracks meander across this section of the desert, leading to the east and west”.


I could easily have missed this message, as all the desert screens look the same. Lucky I was paying attention.

I made my way west for a couple of screens, and suddenly found myself standing in front of a laundry! There was a chute on the left wall of the building and a door on the front, but I couldn’t open either of them as they were locked. I spent a bit of time trying to get inside Reliant Laundry, but couldn’t. Figuring I must need to find a key or some other way in later in the game, I made my way back to the hotel (after convincing myself there was nothing else out there in the desert). Taking the right exit took me to the Train Station Entryway. Once again I checked out my possible exits, but apart from the double doors leading into the station, they all appeared to head out into endless desert. So from what I can tell, Las Vegas consists of the Hotel, the Laundry, and the Train Station. I entered the station, where I found a man sitting on a bench reading a newspaper. The man didn’t seem to listen to anything I said to him, so I checked out my surroundings. There really wasn’t anything else to see in the main room, but the exits led to track 6, track 7, track 8, track 9, and the baggage-claim booth. I visited each of the tracks, but all I found were trains waiting for me to board. I did notice that there were doors behind each of the tracks, but trying to reach them only resulted in me being hit by a train and dying.


I imagine a laundry in a well populated desert environment would make a mint!


Everyone seems to ignore me in this game!


I'm so glad you told me. I may not have known otherwise!

Since I really didn’t know which train to get on, I made my way to the Baggage-Claim Department. A man sat in a booth where travelers could check in their baggage. There were two signs on the wall behind him, and some brochures in a rack to the side of the booth. I checked out all four brochures, finding that there were two different ones available. The first one explained the Union Pacific Railroad Company’s new arrival/departure scheduling system. What it had to say was pretty obvious, giving definitions for what the words “Arrived”, “Boarding”, “Departing” and “En Route” mean. The second brochure had the same information I’d found in my green foldout train schedule, listing the costs of tickets from Las Vegas to New York City, St. Louis, Los Angeles and Chicago. I examined the signs on the wall and found that they were actually arrival and departure boards. Trains had just arrived from St.Louis and New York, while they were still en route from Chicago and Los Angeles. I was more interested in what trains were about to depart, as I’d decided the best place for me to go was Chicago. I had two addresses so far, being for my apartment and Joe’s Bar, and both of them were located in Chicago. The departure board told me there was a train to Chicago about to depart from track 6, so that’s where I headed.


I'd like to check in this wastebasket, these two ashtrays, and this oversized bible please

When I hopped on the train, the conductor told me that a one way fare to Chicago would cost $20. I opened up my pants and then clicked on my wallet. Meanwhile the conductor was getting impatient, asking whether I really wanted to buy a ticket. I opened up my wallet and began examining each of the notes in there, since there’s no way to know how much each is worth by simply looking at them. By the time I found the note I wanted, the conductor had kicked me off the train, and I was left to watch while it pulled out from the station. Damn inventory!!!! I was forced to go back to the baggage area to see what track the next train going to Chicago would depart from, and this time I dragged the twenty dollar note into my main inventory before hopping on the train. Once I’d paid, I was briefly able to explore the train car, but other than finding out that one of the women onboard “looks like she ought to be in pictures”, I found nothing to do or see. Eventually the screen went black as I apparently fell asleep. Oddly, at one point I half woke to have a quick glimpse of the train again, before going back to sleep. When I fully woke up, we had arrived in Chicago.


Just a minute...I just have to find my wallet...ok, I've got it...now, what note is this? No, that's a one dollar note....um, what about this one...no, um...I know it's here somewhere...hey, what are you doing???

The train station in Chicago looked completely different to the one in Las Vegas, with a small empty bench at the front and a blind man selling newspapers to one side. There was a dog next to the man that was described as being a Pit-Bull Chihuahua and apparently reminded me of my old dog Taco. “He might have been just a pooch, but at least he didn’t nag when you came home late.” The writer of Deja Vu II appears to have had a bit of chip on his shoulder about women. Either that or he was trying to replicate Al Lowe’s style of humour and failing on the funny front. I examined one of the newspapers, and read an article with the headline “GANGLAND BAGMAN MURDERED?”: “An as yet unrecognizable body, perhaps that of a well-known local mobster, is believed to have come to his end at the hands of a fellow gangster. In recent months, gang-related activity has increased in this city. Police are investigating any possible connections between the Siegel murder and this most recent slaying.” The article also noted that the body of the gangster was now in the city morgue. It seemed to me that I might want to pay a visit to that morgue, yet there was no mention of its location in the article.


No, I don't really hear much at all in this game, but thanks for trying to create the mood for me.

I exited the station and found a yellow cab waiting outside. Since there were no other exits on the screen, I hopped in. “Why it’s none other than your old pal, Gabby.” A bit coincidental don’t you think!? “You remember meeting Gabby for the first time years ago. You instantly recognized that he was almost totally deaf and could barely read lips so you had to figure out other ways of directing him; talking just didn’t cut it. Through the years you’ve helped him out and in return, he’s never charged you a cent. Quite the prince that Gabby is!” So this time I wasn’t going to have to type in addresses to tell to the taxi driver, as the only way he would understand me is if I gave him something with the address on it. I “operated” my license on Gabby, and he responded with “Yes!” and set off for my apartment. We arrived shortly thereafter, and I hopped out and entered the block of apartments I call home. The hallway leading to my own apartment  had some mailboxes built into the wall, so I examined each of them. The fourth and final one had my name on it, so I tried to unlock it using my apartment key. That didn’t work, and since I could find no other way to get into either my box or any of the others, I instead unlocked my door and entered my apartment.


Gabby was always there...waiting for me...patiently!


Well at least this time I won't be wasting valuable cash on cabs all the time


How could she not with a name like that!?

“You’re standing in a room that looks like it was turned inside out. The stale odor of cheap cigar smoke tells you the mess was caused by that two-legged tornado, Stogie Martin.” My apartment was a mess, with items strewn all over the place. I set about examining each of them, starting with the horrendous checkered overcoat hanging on the wall. Clearly Stogie hadn’t bothered to check through the overcoat, as inside I discovered a .38 revolver and twelve dollars, all of which I dragged into my inventory. I also added the overcoat...well...because I could. It’s here that I was informed that I’d run out of space in my inventory, so it was time to start prioritising items. I decided to dump the pillows, the wastebasket, the towels, and three of Stogie’s cigar rings, since none of those things seemed likely to play a role. I continued searching the room, finding a portable battery-operated flashlight, and then finding a bunch of useful things in the drawer that had been left on the floor. There was a cardboard box containing four bullets for the gun, a penknife, and two keys. Examining the keys revealed that one of them was for my safe deposit box, but the other one was an unknown.


No wonder he left it alone. It's hideous!


A box of bullets, a pen knife, and two keys. Score!!!

For some reason I just assumed the safe deposit box key was for my mailbox (I guess I didn’t read it properly), so was surprised when I went back out to the hallway and found it wouldn’t unlock it (I ran into Stogie again in the hallway too, telling me to get a move on). I tried the other key I’d just collected, and thankfully that one did! Inside were three letters, which I immediately set about opening and reading. The first one contained an advertisement that suggested I enrol in a correspondence course at the Berlitz School of Investigation. I wasn’t sure if it was a stab at my investigatory skills or not, but I couldn’t see how it would be relevant. The second letter was from my informant, Vinnie Talusso. “Ace, some weird stuff is going on at Nordic Shoe Factory. I have it on good authority that the company has invested a large amount of money on an ice cream parlor across the street from it. There are also midnight shipments to this ice cream parlor from unmarked trucks. I thought you’d like to know, because you told me to keep my eyes open for anything out of the ordinary.” Unfortunately, the letter didn’t contain an address for either the ice cream parlor or the shoe factory, so I didn’t see how I might get Gabby to drive me to either location. Finally, the third letter was also an advertisement, with this one trying to convince me to join the marines.


Why do I have a boring informant that sends me letters when Tex gets a sassy redhead that video calls him!?

Feeling that I’d found all there was to find at my apartment, I hopped back into the cab and gave the article containing the address for Joe’s Bar to Gabby. He recognised it, and we were soon parked outside the location where everything started in the first Déjà vu game. I was a bit concerned at first, because it appeared that all the same pathways that were available during the first game were going to need exploring all over again. There were no less than six exits to the screen, with the cab only taking up one of them. It soon became apparent that some of them were not actually accessible though. I couldn’t go through the manhole “due to alligator scares in the past few years”, and I couldn’t go left of screen as “a construction barricade” blocked my way. The front entrance to Joe’s was also locked, leaving only the alleyway leading behind the bar and the street off to the right of screen. I entered the alley, and immediately found myself accosted by a strange old lady. “Suddenly, a haggard old woman seems to appear out of nowhere and pummels you with her purse for no apparent reason! She then runs off screaming “Fur balls unite!” at the top of her lungs.” I had no idea what it was all about at the time, and I still don’t!


Getting knocked out, finding a  dead body and being attacked by alligators. How could it not be my favourite place to hang out?


Wowbagger dropped in to inform Ace that he was "a right dickhead", before moving onto her next target

From my new location, I could either climb the fire escape or go further into the alley (the manhole was again inaccessible). I decided to thoroughly explore the alleyway before attempting to break into the bar. The next alley screen had a locked door that would otherwise lead into the bar, and there was also a bunch of garbage spread out on the ground. I moved an empty beer can and an unreadable piece of newspaper into my inventory (just to get them out of the way really) and then opened the box that was left in the middle of the alley. It contained another box, which in turn contained yet another box, and within that box was a bunch of empty bottles. I turned my attention to the garbage cans, and was shocked to find a key (on a Mercedes Benz keyring) within one of them! I hadn’t seen a car at this stage of the game (apart from the cab), but was certain it would become important later. With all the garbage investigated, I thought I’d have a shot at unlocking the door somehow. My first thought was to use the pocket knife on the lock, and was thrilled when it worked!!! I was about to go back into Joe’s Bar, where my whole ordeal started in the previous game. Join me next post to see what went on in there!


Why would anyone throw their car key into a garbage can?


Makes me wonder whether I could do the same at the laundry!

Session Time: 1 hour 00 minutes
Total Time: 2 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 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!

31 comments:

  1. Flight of the Amazon Queen is out on GOG and is free to download!!! Go get it!

    Anyone played it before?

    http://www.gog.com/game/flight_of_the_amazon_queen

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have! Very fun game. Strangely enough, almost all downloads on the Internet have been stripped of the executable (so you're forced to use ScummVM). I remember it taking a while to find a complete version so I could play it in DOSBox. (Yes, I have a thing against ScummVM :-P )

      Delete
    2. For those of us curious, what's wrong with ScummVM?

      Delete
    3. Mainly not good enough accuracy. Even in Colonel's Bequest I noticed right away some incorrect stuff. AFAIK you can even save in Last Crusade in places that you shouldn't. Then, in SCUMM games, there's the very ugly yellow UI that replaces the real ones - it's a constant "You're playing this in ScummVM!" reminder, and breaks the retro experience for me. I also prefer to fiddle around with the original setup files that come with the games. Overall the way DOSBox recreates the DOS console and enviroment, letting you use the game files exactly the same way you would on a real machine, feels more authentic to me.

      Delete
    4. Good to know. I haven't messed too much with ScummVM; mainly to start Zak McKracken and I guess I played Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade with it. I bought it on Steam, but was going for MT-32 support. I've never played either game enough to notice the differences.

      I have a pile of old 3.5" and 5.25" disks that I was systemically getting to run years ago (on Windows XP), but unfortunately I chose VDMSound as the library. I need to give it another shot with DOSBox. I was just trying to copy/install the games so they'd be "plug and play" and then get rid of some of those disks.

      Delete
    5. Thanks for the heads up. Gone and got. I guess there will be no excuse for us all not to play along with you in 2019.

      Delete
    6. I think you're being a bit unfair on ScummVM Laukku.

      If by ugly yellow UI you mean the save screen, that's only there when you save or load, and all it does is give you a more modern save screen with screenshots and the ability to have more than 8 (or however many the particular game lets you have) saves.

      I can understand if you want a fully accurate representation though, but your wording made it sound like that was the whole UI of the game rather than just the save screen.

      As for Last Crusade, the game makes it obvious that you can't save in the end - I chose to save anyway because I didn't see the fun in going back to a much further save, but if I wanted a more accurate experience I could have just not saved after it told me I couldn't.

      Are you sure there are other inaccuracies? I understand the Last Crusade inaccuracy, but that's purely a result of the save screen upgrade. Other than that, I thought they just emulated the game rather than changing it. And I would have thought any inaccuracies would have been noticed by now.

      Delete
    7. Yeah, maybe I should've been a bit clearer with the UI wording. But even if it's just the save/load screen, I'd rather not lose them, especially custom game-specific ones such as in Day of the Tentacle and Curse of Monkey Island.

      As for inaccuracies, I've noticed plenty of them from screenshots and YouTube videos during the years. Stuff like iMuse working differently in Curse of Monkey Island. There were also some things I caught in Trickster's screenshots of Colonel's Bequest. The SCUMM Macintosh versions have all kinds of subtle differences to their DOS counterparts that get ignored. Some of these might have been fixed since then, but I'd rather not get any nasty surprises.

      ScummVM is great for people who just want to play the games without hassle and don't mind some cosmetic changes or minor accuracy errors. I'm just not part of their target audience.

      Delete
    8. "I thought they just emulated the game rather than changing it."

      As they say on their website, ScummVM is not an actual emulator, but rather attempts to recreate the original game engines.

      Delete
    9. Hasn't Flight of the Amazon Queen been available as a free download for ScummVM for years?

      Delete
    10. Yes, and so have Beneath a Steel Sky and Lure of the Temptress.

      A complete list of free games on GOG.com can be found here: http://www.gog.com/games##price=free

      Delete
    11. I'd also like to see some screenshots/compraisons of why ScummVM is inaccurate. Also don't they have a wiki with listings of how well it will play various games?

      Delete
    12. I think I've played this game before. But it was probably not very memorable. Heart of China, now THAT is memorable. A freaking huge game at that time and probably the first to be able to build a (love/hate) relationship with your adventuring companion.

      Delete
    13. I played Flight of the Amazon Queen, though I didn't find it engaging enough to finish it. It's a nice, gentle game, but IMO it tries so hard to ape LucasArts that it ends up having little personality of its own. I should play it again when we get to it to see if I change my mind.

      @Kenny: Agreed, Heart of China is excellent. I was bummed it never got a sequel. They could have made a whole series with the Indiana-esque main character, but alas.

      Delete
    14. @Canageek: You asked for it, so here goes.

      First the most obvious and recent example, Colonel's Bequest. The ScummVM screenshot is taken from this blog and resized to 2x scale. The DOSBox screenshot I recreated from the exact same scene (I even matched the cursor position).

      DOSBox

      ScummVM

      Note the frame around the message box, and the word "incomplete". In DOSBox the frame is rendered correctly in all white, whereas ScummVM has a blue tint to it save for the corners. The last E in "incomplete" is also incorrectly written on a second line in ScummVM.

      Quit confirmation screen from Beneath a Steel Sky:

      DOSBox

      ScummVM

      This actually looks like a bug in the original game that was fixed in ScummVM. Without text there's a suspicious blank area. It's self-explanatory even without text, though.

      Next one, after quitting the same game:

      DOSBox

      ScummVM

      This one actually looks like changed by design. The game should show the message after returning to DOS, but since ScummVM doesn't have a DOS console, an alternative method of showing it has been implemented.

      Next up, the Macintosh version of Fate of Atlantis:

      Basilisk II

      ScummVM

      (Ignore the smoothening in the first screenshot, it's a feature of the Macintosh version that can be easily recreated in ScummVM.) The DOS version has a minor graphical glitch that renders the horned statue in Indy's hand incorrectly, and which was fixed in the Macintosh version. ScummVM is faithful to the DOS behaviour and recreates that. For reference, here's a screenshot from the DOS version in DOSBox. On the upside, ScummVM has recently added support for the Macintosh version's music engine, and it plays a lot smoother than in the laggy Basilisk II.

      Finally, here's an otherwise good article about iMuse that unfortunately has a very severe error: In the last two of the Monkey Island 3 examples, iMuse isn't in effect! The variations start from the beginning instead of where the melody was. (I'm assuming that those clips are from ScummVM, because they plug it at the end.) The article is several years old, so that's probably fixed by now.

      Those are just some off the top of my head, I'm sure there are more.

      Delete
    15. Wow, didn't meant to touch off all that. Interesting screen shots and reading though.

      Delete
    16. You should file bug reports on those; I'm betting that the worse bugs in Colonel's Bequest are because very few people have played and bug check it. The quite confirmation screen is interesting, could that be from another version of the game that didn't come out on a system that was command line based? (Mac, Amiga, etc?) Choosing which version to copy is always controversial, and copying the DOS version people remember is a valid option. Not the one I would have chosen, but a valid one.

      Delete
    17. Thanks for the details and screenshots Laukku.

      I figured I'd add these Colonel's Bequest ones to the ScummVM bug tracker, but it seems the border problem has already been fixed and Trickster must be using an outdated version of ScummVM. Probably should update that, Trick, to avoid similar bugs in the future :)

      http://sourceforge.net/tracker/index.php?func=detail&aid=3486899&group_id=37116&atid=418820

      I understand why Dosbox serves your needs better than ScummVM. For me personally, those kind of inaccuracies, particularly when they seem to be so quickly fixed when pointed out, are offset by the advantages.

      Does anybody know if the Incomplet...e bug is also still there in the current version of ScummVM? I couldn't find it referred to in their Bug Tracker, and my guess is if someone found the border colour difference, the Incomplet...e issue would have been found too.

      Just a note, it seems the developers of ScummVM agree that the original save/load screens are worth keeping around - When I installed Colonel's Bequest to test that the border colour issue was fixed, I noticed one of the Engine options was "Use original save/load screens".

      Delete
    18. Well, I asked Trickster at one point, and he claimed to be using the latest version of ScummVM. The latest version, 1.6.0, was released in May this year - that's many months ago already.

      Delete
    19. 1.6.0 you say! Um...mine's a bit lower than that.

      Turns out I was wrong!!! I better get the latest one before I use it again.

      Delete
  2. Nice! Seems I'm only slightly ahead of you Trickster. A bit stuck at the moment, though...

    About the things you've missed, remember the interface is working against you (and yes, I also got thrown out of the train for wasting a few actions checking my money -- don't you love the conductor mocking you and keeping the "tip"!) and don't forget to enlarge the inventory panels when you open new containers to ensure you can see all objects inside. ;-)

    ReplyDelete
  3. "Why would anyone throw their car key into a garbage can?" I'd guess the car is probably trash too.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It it wasn't their keys: It was their exs car keys.

      Delete
  4. A timed window UI? I love the idea of having containers inside your inventory so you can organize things, but timing it is *dumb* Adventure games != action games!

    ReplyDelete
  5. I actually was stuck outside the bar for a while. I kept going back to places looking for a key when the whole time all I had to do was use the knife. I had the same problem in the first game when you have to shoot one of the locks to open the door.

    I have no idea who that crazy lady is. Never saw her in the Gameboy Color version.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. careful with the spoilers Pacpix; pointing out things not in one version could inadvertently tip Trickster off to what's not important. I also stumbled around shooting locks like in the first game. So far I'm ahead of Trickster, stuck, and I have a feeling the next post isn't going to help much.

      Delete
  6. So, I was reading Saturday Crapshoot and I noticed he did Quest for Glory 4.5, a horrible fan game. Have any of you played it? Opinions? Should we force Trickster to suffer through it? http://www.pcgamer.com/2012/06/09/saturday-crapshoot-quest-for-glory-4-12/

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's abysmal. Not even funny. References from stuff that wasn't funny when it was new are its high point. Good premise, horrible execution... and it won't run on Windows 7 no matter what you do, if I'm not mistaken.

      Delete
    2. Never heard of it. From the reviews, I'm glad I didn't.

      Ultima 4.5 is a lot better executed.

      http://www.80sgaming.org/ultima-parody/

      Delete
  7. By the way, that is the weirdest battle-cry I have ever heard... which I'm going to use as my own.

    "Fur Balls unite!"

    ReplyDelete
  8. It's nice to see Wowbagger the Infinitely Prolonged in his element.

    ReplyDelete