Monday, 7 December 2015

Martian Memorandum - Men are from Mars, Women have no... well, women are also from Mars

Tex Murphy Journal Entry #5: I found out a LOT of information from the two women I met on Mars (and I thought women were from Venus.) Jane told me plenty but Deacon Hawke was full of information. Not only that but I found a Martian Memorandum and some vital information on my client, Marshall Alexander.

We start today's episode with another flashback, where I repeated some more things I'd done earlier before reloading.

FLASHBACK CONTINUED

… I visited Dr Barkley, took his Orange Box (TM), asked him about everything, went to the Power Plant, spoke to “I'm a PC”, got the pass card, used it to get to the restricted area, took the wrench, used the magnet to get upstairs, got the hoverboard, spoke to Lowell, went to Big Dick's, got Big Dick Card, went to bathroom, took Blueprints, the instead of going to the office went back to visit Jane...

Now that Jane will give me more information, I ask her all my questions again.


That's a LOT of information.

Next, of course, I visit Alexis' brother, Bradley.

Well, for starters, you can stop winking at me – it looks creepy.

Bradley was given away on birth to a mutant family. He's angry that Marshall abandoned him and wants his share of the estate. He claims he plans to give his share to the mutant community.

He also knows that Alexis stole the Oracle Stone from dad. He seems a bit suspicious of Deacon Hawke's motives. He also tells me that Big Dick has a big safe where he holds secrets on important people of Mars and when Dick found out Bradley was Alexander's son, he tried to get something on Bradley.

I'm going to assume that the glasses those old green/red cellophane 3D glasses from the 1980s.

As I leave, Bradley tells me to keep looking for his sister because he know she's in danger.

ANOTHER FLASHBACK

… I go to Big Dick's office, talk my way into Big Dick giving me time and for some reason leaving me alone in his personal private office with a hoverboard, laser-vision glasses, his security card and a whole heap of other stuff I can use to pry into his personal business, get his safe card, then I MOVE the light, enter the secret room, USE the hoverboard and this time, can see the lasers...

When I was about ¾ of the way through, I discovered that I could use the arrow keys instead of my mouse. This made the whole thing much easier.


The large marchine to the left is a scanner. It's set to scan Big Dick's eye. I have a Big Dick card, with his face on it, so I try to use that card on the scanner.


I quickly try to think of another idea, as I'm guessing dawdling too long results in death. I notice in my inventory I have a 'FACIAL KIT'

The facial kit also transforms my coat, hands and apparently, my height.

The safe opens and in it I see a MEMORANDUM.

While useful, this doesn't seem like the kind of thing you'd name a whole game after.

I also find what Lowell Percival wanted me to get.

<Start surfer dude voice> Like, totally, man! <End surfer dude voice> Is it just me, or are the spelling errors getting worse as the game goes on?

I take Percival's markers, I also take Dick's 120,000 in cash, but can't take his stash of cigars and drugs, and of course I take the most important item in the game...

Roll credits!

Now I'm hoping I won't have to dodge lasers on the way back, but feel confident that the game won't let me off easy.

My prediction came through, and after dying four more times, I finally made it and...

P.I. Rule number 63: When a guy tells you he'll be back in 10 minutes, DON'T take 16 minutes to get your work done.

Obviously by taking screenshots I've slowed myself down and my 10 minutes are up (the things I do for you people.)

MINOR FLASHBACK

So I reload to back outside the office, talk to Dick, get the card, move the lig... hover towards the safe (die 6 more times), USE card on ... hover back across the laser maze (die another 6 times – at least I'm consistent), leave secret room, open vent, navigate vent maze, leave Casino, phew!

The vent maze was a little easier this time as I ALMOST have the hang of the interface.

As I leave the casino on my way to visit Deacon Hawke at the Temple, I get another Tex Murphy summary of what we've found out lately.


I like the way the game tells me I know something before I really know it. Tex is clearly a better detective than me. The clues were all there – Stanton's murder spree and Alexander's mysterious plastic surgery, plus the mystical Oracle Stone and a few more clues I've forgotten along the way. I just didn't put it all together until this point.

The Temple is actually an ancient temple built centuries ago by Martians. The current inhabitants made a few renovations - the security fence and Honeywell intercom system are definitely new additions.

Statues of the ancient Martian god of light “Phobos” and the ancient Martian god of Darkness “Deimos” surround the entrance but they look like the same guy.

As I approach the gate, Deacon appears.

Okay, I get it, Tex. She's attractive. Did you really need thirteen lines to tell me that?

She tells me that my coming was foretold. Unfortunately she still won't let me in because the prophecy states that knowledge can only be given me when the light returns to its source...

I try to explain that prophecies aren't in my job description but she won't talk to me any more. It seems I need to return some light to a source.

Now that I've gotten Big Dick's safe contents, I visit Lowell Percival. With more than $500,000 worth of information, he'll now answer my questions – and if he doesn't give me $500,000 worth of answers, I'll definitely be asking for change!

Lowell is really churned up about Marshall's death.

Percival also tells me that Rick Logan offered to sell him the Oracle Stone, but he doesn't need magic to help him so he declined. He derides Deacon Hawke's plan to build a society based on the long dead Martian customs. He does give me a new lead. Apparently a bouncer at the casino called “Rocky Bulwinkle” might be able to help me find Alexis. Rocky goes some place near the casino after work.

I leave Percival and go to the outside of the casino - after a few seconds a man (who is presumably Rocky) walks out and into the alley. I follow him.

P.I. Rule number 45: NEVER get in a fist-fight with an ex-boxer.

Trying again, I this time hide behind a pipe and see Rocky open a secret door. Entering the door I see a familiar face.


Looking back to our Mean Streets post, Larry Hammond seems to have been doing fine, but Darrell's a bit worse for wear as well as swapping sides.

Murray?

Larry gives me an amulet that will make Deacon more likely to talk to me, and gives me the address of Nathan Bloodworth's wife, Michelle.

Just a small sample of the many faces of Larry and Darrell Hammond

With my new amulet at the ready, I travel back to the temple, and find the gate open. I enter...

You couldn't come up with a better name than “Bad Guy?”

"Nasty fellow?" Actually I'm starting to warm to "Bad Guy."

With Deacon being held prisoner by a thug, I walk across the room wondering if I'll be seen and shot by the 'Bad Guy' but I'm surprised to make it alive. Martian bad guys have nowhere near as good vision as Earth's smugglers.

The grey item to the left of the mirror is an extinguisher. I figure I need to sneak down the side of the temple and use it to extinguish the braziers at the other end. But trying to GET the extinguisher doesn't work. I quickly discover that I can MOVE the mirror, so I MOVE the left mirror. Then I MOVE the extinguisher. In hindsight, this is not a good move.

The extinguisher falls and makes a loud sound. The bad guy fires his laser at the sound. Because I'd moved the mirror, the shot bounces off, but then he shoots again.

P.I. Rule number 2: Hide from people carrying guns.

It's pretty obvious what I need to do now. I reload and this time move both mirrors before attempting to move the extinguisher.

Bad Guy Rule number 1: Shooting lasers at mirrors can be hazardous to your health.

Interestingly, LOOKing at the bad guy and priestess still give me the same message about him prodding her and demanding she talk. I try to TALK to the dead/dying bad guy, but get a “The Creep Spots You” message and die myself. This is clearly an oversight - something the designers just didn't expect people to do.

Note to future designers: Adventure game players will try EVERYTHING!

I talk to Deacon (without untying her due to the graphic not changing) and NOW she'll talk to me.

Light? I didn't see any light. What I DID see was a brave P.I. saving your life, but no light.

She tells me that Stanton and Alexander are the same person, but I already knew that. She says that Stanton's lust for the power of the stone drove him to commit genocide – he DID seem very worried about it missing – now that I think about it he WAS just a few steps short of calling the Oracle Stone “My precious”.

She confirms that Rick Logan had attempted to sell her the stone but was killed before she could respond. She believes Alexis is now being held against her will, and that one person who may help me locate her is Cooper Bradbury – who is the leader of the mutant faction on Mars.

She really has a lot to say about the stone.


She also has a fair bit to say about Thomas Dangerfield.

Dangerfield was an archaeologist with the Stanton Expedition. He heard about the colonists having a valuable artifact, and advised Stanton to try to buy it. They wouldn't sell. That was when the massacre happened. Dangerfield took no part In the massacre and threatened to inform the authorities. He was shot and left for dead but is still searching for the stone and Collier Stanton.

Important safety tip: If your boss kills a bunch of people who aren't endangering the lives of others, don't THREATEN to inform the authorities - get yourself to the nearest cop station as fast as you can!

Can your foretelling be a bit more specific next time? 'Die trying' is NOT what I signed on for.

She tells me that if I do find the stone, I must give it to her for safe keeping and gave me the location of the destroyed colonist's camp so I can search the ruins for clues.

Phew! And at the start of this post I thought Jane had given me a lot of information. Deacon is a definite Ms. Exposition.

With all that information to take in, I think it's time to end our post. Next time, I'll visit the Martian colonist ruins, Michelle Bloodworth and wherever the clues take me afterwards.

Deaths: 3 (17 total) - Nearsighted bad guy death, Rocky Bullwinkle death, Big Dick's return death.

Inventory: Gun, Cash, Comlink, Paper, Boots, Keys, Remote Control, Food and Water, Door Card Key, Flashlight, Safe Card Key, Allen Wrench, Hover Board, Blue prints, Letter, Memorandum, Film, Glasses, Amulet, Big Dick Card.

Session time: 1 hour 25 minutes
Total time: 7 hours 58 minutes

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 CAPs will be given for hints or spoilers given in advance of me requiring one.

7 comments:

  1. Hmm, maybe the identity kit was explained in one of the hints, then. I checked all the hints in the doctor's office, because I was worried I missed something, as you lose the ability to interact with items in that environment once you pick up the box, as that's the trigger for the doctor to return.

    I thought I was supposed to use the box on the portrait of Big Dick in his office, and thought I had hosed myself by saving after opening the secret passage (which hides the picture). I had forgotten about the Big Dick Card that I had picked up well before (I thought it was just a security card, not a trading card with his picture on it) so it was nice that the game used it automatically at the correct point.

    Deacon explains the "light returning" prophecy in the last screenshot. ;)

    I already had the amulet from Hammond before I went to talk to Deacon, so I didn't get to meet her at the gate. The gate was open, so I just waltzed in and had to deal with laserguy and the mirrors. So I fulfilled the prophecy before she even told me about it :/

    I also looted Big Dick's safe before ever going to talk to Percival, so it was weird that on first meeting him he thanked me for taking care of business for him.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah. Not being able to LOOK at items once they are in your inventory is an annoyance. It's okay for me because I can just go back to my screenshots to see what things are but most players won't have that luxury.

      Then again, that doesn't help when items completely change their name. Like picking up an "IDENTIFIER BOX" but having a "FACIAL KIT" in my inventory. I doubt I would have thought of using an IDENTIFIER BOX on the retina scanner because ironically the name doesn't identify its purpose.

      Delete
  2. Nice Cinemasins reference.

    For some reason, seeing the bad guy named Bad Guy reminded me of the NES classic Bad Dudes - https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bad_Dudes_Vs._DragonNinja . Am I saying that's a bad thing? I'm not sure, but I'm definitely glad I'm not the one playing this. How did Access start with games this clunky? I'm not surprised that a game riddled with spelling errors et al is worse towards the end, either - whoever they had doing the QA clearly wasn't trying very hard or more likely ran out of time, so the start of the game is likely to have received the spellcheck and bug test coat of polish before the midgame

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good to see someone noticed that. :) Cinemasins is definitely one of my favourite comedy 'shows'

      I may not be communicating it well in my posts, but despite the problems I'm really enjoying the game. A lot more than I expected to.

      There are a LOT of spelling and grammar errors, but it IS a very verbose game. Still no excuse for bad QA, but more understandable when you compare the sheer amount of words versus other games of the time. (Not comparable with Infocom's text adventures of course but when compared with other graphic adventures.)

      Delete
    2. I definitely expect to see some points deducted for the spelling, because holy crap it's bad.

      Delete
  3. Big Dick's eye? Does it... cry thick milky tears?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I can always trust Kenny to find the Big Dick jokes the game and I miss. :)

      I'm secretly wondering how many times I can use variations of the phrase 'Big Dick' without having the site filtered out by a parental censorship filter.

      Delete