Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Game 50: B.A.T. - Dance 'til you Drop

By Aperama

Ageless, Faceless, Gender-Neutral, Terran Adventure Person's Journal #2: Well, I've explored the entirety of town, now. After having been shot at by Glockmups and Stickrobs (and damn, do those Stickrobs hurt when they fire away!) I managed to find my way to both the Artificial Park – which simply has to be a dead end, given I can barely even find anyone who'll talk to me there – and the Hot Quarter. After finding a lovely lady (and having her promise that I'll spend the night with her), I continued through to find the Xifo Club and its corresponding business building, both owned by the influential Crisa Kortakis – which I'm fairly sure I can finagle an interview with if I can just find my way into the club. It's going to be expensive, given I can't even find a bouncer to bribe.. boy, I hope B.A.T. take all of my receipts on tax!


This is what I found at the adult theatre in the Hot Quarter's 'films' department for 5 Krells.
 Kenny? Restrain yourself, these people mean business

I'd first like to apologise for not being able to get a post up earlier. Conjunctivitis is not at all fun – I've essentially been without my right eye for the past week. It turned this completely menacing shade of red and everything. Unfortunately? It was far, far more interesting than this game is turning out to be. I was promised (by Trickster, no less!) that the game had an engrossing atmosphere that would be sure to draw me in. It.. just doesn't. After taking some advice from Jan Larres which came straight from the manual after the last post, I can say that I no longer have to go through and use the 'translate' function every time, while I left all of the 'personal health' meters alone as B.O.B. only allows about ten lines of code in a program at once.. but even that took inordinately long. It's a screen with an up and down arrow along with around about two dozen options – none of them conveniently located next to each other, forcing up and down arrow usage to be clicked repeatedly. Slowly. A scroll bar, even, or just smaller font, would have done the cyborg-masters at B.A.T. far better justice. Random combats pop up out of nowhere and simply aren't fun – they're clickfests and seem to require you to select your weapon each and every time, and only seem to pad out the game – I haven't received any of the native currency for the effort of self-induced RSI that the game seems to want to inflict upon me for doing so. In fact, I haven't yet found anything that will provide Krells apart from the 'Bizzy Game', a version of Simon Says which gives them away at 5 a pop – in contrast, a Nitrokola, the cheapest drink I've found, has a real value of 6 – 12 minimum after my barter skill.


It flashes three symbols and you then have to click them in the order they popped up. Oh, also? If you leave your credit chit in there after leaving the machine, it's lost forever. Vive le France!

So, when we last left off (aside from my pondering finding a physical copy of this game and violently assaulting it with a hammer), we were exploring Daventry Terrapolis in search of Merigo, a two-bit criminal who is likely to lead us to Mordack the evil scientist Vrangor, with the only named lead that we could follow apart from vague clues like 'go around here' or 'yeah, I think I saw them somewhere.. that's not here!' being the name of Crisa Kortakis, a famed businesswoman in the area. One of the few clues stated that we should 'try near the Park' – and there's only one 'park' I could find – the 'Artificial Park' near the doctor/surgeons place just past the gunsmith (he'll do a full body surgery for 180 Krells, which I think is a pretty damned good deal. Except that I'm a scummy adventure gamer who has reloaded every time any money has exchanged hands or I've lost any health – take that, fair gameplay!) There is only one (thing) that is permanently on the screen to talk to, and it has no information. I do notice that I get attacked a lot by both Glo(c)kmups and Stickrobs here – Stickrobs in particular aren't worth the time, as they pretty well universally run – so I wouldn't be surprised if there's something I'm missing here. The actual 'park' is essentially a 'tree museum' – there are some ancient animal bones and a free drinking fountain within. The only interesting thing inside is seemingly that there is one 'Cop' which gives a different response to questions than all of the others have – Merigo 'looks like a guy he saw in a nightclub' (the rest say they saw him around 'the old building'), and a DRAG pilot 'reported seeing an operational desert base' (instead of talking about weak points in the city.)


The only thing with a face here. If you hold the mouse in the wrong spot you can't even talk to (it).


But on the plus side, it would appear that even with the excuse of
being racist against 'aliens', the designers still had to get their digs in at Asian flea markets


Conversation with two people at once! Well, two on the screen.
You still have to talk to one at a time

Still, aside from the 'krotospaiis skeleton' from the desert (totally not a dinosaur, just ask the writers of the game), there's really nothing much I can find to interact with. This place is definitely on my 'something's up here' meter, though, and will doubtless be revisited before too long. However, far more clues have led to the Hot Quarter – or as I like to think of it, the carnival quarter. Why the carnival quarter? Everyone you speak to asks for money, and the majority of them that take it respond with the default 'Would you mind not wasting my time !!'. After giving them money. Harumph! The opening screen to the quarter is just an old man standing around to take money just to say 'oh, the hot quarter is over there!' The next screen has the aforementioned gambling house and what I can only think is the 'Terran only nightclub', where the game's inbuilt 'romance' system comes into play. It's essentially more RSI-inducing frantic clicking to no real notable avail, so I'll leave a video link to give an indication of the HOT ACTION that comes through from it.. (Unfortunately, I can't work out what to do with it. The game states that the person you 'seduce' will 'follow you around town', but I can't find anywhere to take her. The 'hotel' is just a cryogenic bed that costs ludicrous amounts of credits and seems just to be there for healing purposes. The restaurants are all automated.. I'll admit that I've just realised that I could have taken her to the park – but what would we do, have relations in the not-dinosaur skeleton?

On second thought, it looks a little more like a Sandworm from Dune..




I do hope that there's nothing more to the red light quarter than I've already found. There's lots of 'heart' symbols in there, but that just leads to more atrocious dancing, and my fingers are already feeling sore just thinking of having to 'show my smooth moves on the dance floor' again. At least you can frantically click the 'escape' button if you end up in a fight. Or perhaps the game is just telling me that I need to sit through and not click the mouse once! (I doubt this.) There don't seem to be any other interactible either people who stay on the screen or other places to visit in this section of the Hot Quarter, with just one more screen seeming to exist in this area of Terrapolis being the business HQ of Crisa Kortakis. Unfortunately, she isn't a particularly sociable person, with a huge bodyguard that you can't even try to blast away if you want to sitting in the front of the area, and her 'owned nightclub' not being accessible without an object, I presume a pass or something along those lines. I know this due to the manual and the manual alone – one of the ten context-sensitive icons is a 'question mark', which says you're missing something (or someone) to access or use with the thing you're hovering over. I thought that it was perhaps our lovely dancing maniac that it wanted me to take with us to the Xifo night club? It wasn't. French RSI-bait 1, Aperama 0.


Even with my 'darling' Lydia on my arm, I don't get in? Damn it..


A 'hulktronic'? I'm tempted to try him on with the 'Nova' in the startup screen.. but I know deep down that the game wouldn't care that I have a weapon capable of vaporising a city block

There's only one other place to visit – the northern airlock of the city.. or to put it another way, the one that leads out towards the planet instead of back into space. The game insists that there is a place to rent out the DRAG system (the flight simulator portion of the game) within, but I can't find the place to leave my mouse. It seems pretty clear between the clues that have been left ingame along with the manual's description of the system (which actually goes out and says that the 'radar' on the simulator will have Selenia as the green dot – and Vrangor's station as the red dot. 'If you want to go to Vrangor's station, move your DRAG left or right; move forward when the red dot is on top of the radar screen...' (I mean, as far as I'm concerned, we've found Vrangor, let's bomb the bastard and get on with our lives now – thanks, manual!)


So, uh, I've read the manual, and it tells me Vrangor is out in the desert..
Can we just shoot him, Mr. Guard?

I'm not quite at a dead end – I've still got plenty of people to both bribe and try to attack, but there's no real clear objective from here. I still don't know if the woman from the nightclub is actually still accompanying me around, as there's no way of telling it one way or the other (I've tried going through all of the BOB menus and the regular-game menus to see if I do) and I don't know if there are any practical benefits to the in-game timing system (e.g. will different people be around at 10 AM instead of 2 AM?) There's at least the modicum of hope that there's something waiting further on from here.. but really, the game has given me two pseudo-puzzles and an interface so awkward I've been back to re-check on things three times while writing this just to try and see if a second scan-through with the mouse will give a different object to interact with.


Hopefully, a second run around of the park will yield results..

Session Time: 1 hour 30 min
Total Time: 2 hour 30 min

Note Regarding Spoilers and Companion Assist Points: There’s 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!

7 comments:

  1. It's interesting to compare your and Chet's playthroughs. You are now almost at the same point as Addict was with his second post. With the third post, Chet had already finished. It seems like it's difficult to find the beginning of the plot, but once you do, the rest follows easily.

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  2. 5 damn Krells for that? What, the future doesn't have bittorrent sites for free adult entertainment?

    Also... 75% sales! http://store.steampowered.com/search/?filter=weeklongdeals#sort_by=_ASC&filter=weeklongdeals&page=1

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  3. Your mention of not being able to get your credit card back after forgetting it in the arcade machine leads me to believe that you haven't made much use of the "search" command yet. This is an important command, because it is the only way to get items in certain situations. There are some story events that require you to "search" the screen to get an item, you can use it to find your card again after forgetting it, and possibly (I don't remember whether this is true) you can find items after killing someone in a random fight. I'm mentioning it here because it isn't exactly intuitive but can be very frustrating if you forget to do it in certain situations.

    Here's a hint as to whether timing matters:
    Vg qbrf znggre ohg bayl va irel fcrpvsvp (vzcbegnag) pnfrf.

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    Replies
    1. Every time I've hit the search command, it has just returned me to the command list with no message to say anything was found, not found or otherwise. A simple 'nothing here!' would make this far, far more intuitive.

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  4. You mean there's a plot we have yet to find? That already makes this game better than Neuromancer! :P

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    Replies
    1. *having read up to but not including the Won post* Bleh.

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