Tuesday, 15 March 2016

Maupiti Island - The Physical Evidence

By Ilmari

Last time, I had just concluded with interrogating everyone and finding out what happens in the course of two days. Now, it is time to investigate the surroundings. Before I go on to specifics, I’d like to make some general notes. This game is just full of items, and most of these are probably there for nothing - or at least I haven’t found any use for the many sets of playing cards, sextants etc. Furthermore, since majority of these items are not on plain sight, but often require diligent pixel hunting and meticulous use of different actions on different objects, I am not even sure I’ve found all there is to find. For these reasons, I am not going to make a detailed list of everything that could be found in a room, but merely point out things that seem important as providing clues or as helping to get forward in the game.



Let’s begin in Lange’s own cabin. As could be guessed, there were no real clues to be found here. I did find a letter from Lange’s friend Max, which sets the background for the projected third game in Jerome Lange -trilogy.


French p?

There was also a newspaper detailing among other things the kidnapping of Marie.



No, it’s not the same kidnapping that Lange is investigating now, since the paper is a year old, the kidnapping occurred in Djibouti and Marie is described as a small child. Still, this piece of news at least sets up once again the theme of white slavery.

Brisbane contained also couple of rooms with apparently nothing of interest - a corridor, in which you can access all the other parts of the ship, and the machine room, which is apparently there just for atmosphere. Anton’s cabin seemed also empty of anything interesting.






Move along, there's nothing to be seen here

Bob’s cabin contained the first real evidence. In addition to items, like compass and sextant, there was a log book, detailing the events just preceding the game.





I also found letters from someone called Lady in Black.





Interesting turn of events! After finding these letters, it became possible to ask all the persons about the Lady in Black. Most of the characters had nothing to say about this person, but Bob believed that she must be Anita, while Anita said Lady in the Black is just a character from cheap novels.


Why do the natives must always be superstitious?

I moved on from Brisbane to pier, which seemed first to be an empty place. Then, in the morning of second day, Juste’s body appeared and after a while disappeared. Searching the area after the incident, I found something that wasn’t there at the beginning of the game - a key to Juste’s cabin. This was the first place I realised that not just the people, but the items could move around, as the game clock went on. Basically, this meant that I had to search every room several times, just in case something would have appeared or disappeared. Great.

I wanted to pinpoint the exact time, when the key appeared on the pier, and no, it didn’t come up with Juste’s body. In fact, the key was to be found right after the time, when someone knocks Lange, if he is strolling on the pier at night. This suggested that it was Juste’s murderer who was walking at the pier during that time - possibly returning to his cabin.

Next on my list was the fishing boat, Bamboo. I started with the hull, which was damaged and had a big hole in it.



There wasn’t that much to look about, except a strange crate.


Explosives? Rather strange cargo for a fishing boat

I entered the cabin of Bruce, the captain.


Just like in Bob’s cabin, I could find navigational tools, like sextant and compass, but also binoculars. There was also a log book describing the events just preceding the game.








I also found an opium pipe. If Lange asks Bruce about drugs, he defends himself and says the pipe is only for decorative purposes. When you remember how lucid Bruce’s dialogue usually is, you have to just wonder, if he is telling the truth. I mean, he is known to be losing it and he spent the whole storm locked in his cabin. He thinks he is still a virgin, although his lady friend is of a completely different opinion. He spends the end of the game wandering around and speaking aloud to himself. Yes, I think there’s enough hints here that I’d call Bruce a drug addict.

You can also ask other people about drugs. Apparently poppies were grown on Maupiti long time ago, but most people think that nowadays the island is just full of sailors and girls. Even the ever vigilant Chris has seen no evidence of drug traffic, although Anita suspects it would be something that Roy might be doing.


Juste say no

Chris’s cabin contains a lot of interesting stuff - and I don't mean his gun, since almost all the sailors have got guns.


 Remember those early morning solitary conversations Chris used to have?


Chris appears to like women in uniforms.
Notice the distinct bracelet


Here's the real scoop
Once again, Lady in Black has been mentioned. Menelik is also an interesting name - it belonged to a legendary Ethiopian king. Since paper mentions also Asmera, the capital of Eritrea, which borders Ethiopia, it seems safe to assume that this person lives around the area.

Roy’s cabin is also full of interesting stuff, starting with a bracelet that looks just like the one that the woman in Chris’s picture had.


Take a good look at this diamond - it will vanish from Roy's cabin later and appear elsewhere
After someone breaks Marie’s bookshelf, a new book appears in Roy’s cabin. Coincidence? I don’t think so. The contents of that book seemed at first quite uninteresting, since it was a book containing some chess games.


I really have to commend the dedication of the developers:
these are real games by real chess players.

Even later, I found a mysterious paper containing letters, numbers and other symbols, some of them green, others black.


Luckily someone has broken the code already

After a while (say, after few days of not getting it), I noticed that there were 64 black symbols and then I got an idea - chess board has 64 squares! I placed the symbols in several different ways on a model of a chess set and checked out the various games in the book Roy had stolen. And indeed, the moves of one game went through the letters of “we wait the boat”. Success!

This still didn’t help me that much. I knew Roy had to had some inkling about what the message was all about, since he had been able to decipher the message with the chess book. The real question was why Marie had had such a book for code breaking in her cabin - had she been involved in some illicit business, like almost anyone else on the island appeared to have? And should I be asked to break another code, since I now had expertise on deciphering it?

After having searched through both ships, I turned my attention to the island, starting with the north beach, where Juste keeps fishing and which was a lethal place to be around the time Juste was killed. The place was at first mostly desolate, with just some fishing equipment and seashell to find out. After Juste’s death, I could find an amulet, which might have belonged to Juste. Perhaps the killer had dumped Juste’s body to sea here and the amulet had dropped on the beach?



South beach, the location of the shootout and the final resting place of the disfigured body, had not much to find.





Garden of the island seemed at first quite empty.



Then I tried to knock on the stones on the pavement, Some of them sounded hollow and could be lifted, revealing yet another coded message. Unfortunately, although the message appeared to be made with similar principle as the one in Roy’s cabin, with 64 black symbols mixed with a number of green symbols, I could not decipher the message, despite trying every chess game in the book.


If anyone has an idea about this, I'd be glad to know

The island had also a stone well. One of the stones had a hole in it. Hidden in the ground below that stone, there were some doubloons to be found - perhaps it was a part of some larger treasure?



Another strange spot was the swampy pool, in which appeared the mysterious strongbox, but that wasn’t the only weird thing. You see, the water level of the pool rose and fell regularly.


Nothing of interest...

...wait, what's that!


Infodump

The base of the statue of Walassou had some writing on it, but it was too far to read it. Naturally, I tried to approach the statue to see it better.


Oh no, deadly quicksand!

Next place to visit was Juste’s cabin. The only thing I found in front of his cabin was a dagger.



The interior of the cabin was more interesting. It appears Juste was target of two missionaries, since he had both bible (from Maguy) and a communist manifesto (from Anita). I am afraid he must have most liked to read the lingerie magazine. Furthermore, his house had various ritual objects, like masks and a sensual fetish. Finally, I found more of those strange doubloons.



This was what I could find in Juste’s cabin the first day. In the second day, after Juste had been killed and I had found the key to his now locked cabin, the matter was different. First of all, a formerly closed window had been broken by a diamond.


Didn't Roy have one of these?

I meant the one in your cabin
Stuck in Juste’s stove was something very algae-like.


Why were you trying to burn this?

So, Juste had caught a wig in his nets, Roy had seen it also and apparently killed Juste because of it. Why?

The last thing I could find in Juste’s cabin was a photo of Juste with a blonde woman.


Note the familiar bracelet on the woman's hand - just like the one Roy had in his cabin - just like the one in the photo of a brunette police officer in Chris’s cabin 
Pieces were starting to click into their places. At some point, both Roy and Juste had got acquainted with a police officer (agent 0012), who had for some reason been assigned to Maupiti for a secret mission. The wig of the woman was somehow lost in sea, and Roy didn’t want Juste to know that. But who was the woman? Was she perhaps Marie?

The only place left to search was Maguy’s house. In the front yard, I found only a strange amulet.



Kitchen was almost as devoid of anything interesting, although it contained quite a lot of items, such as an ashtray and a bottle of tranquilizer.



The main attraction of the salon was a mechanical piano, which Marie was in a habit of playing every night, ashtray placed always at the same spot. The piano plays from time to time, and if you just have a coin with you, it is possible to turn the piano on and choose a song from a list. There was also a piece of rope next to piano.



Sue’s room was a disappointment, since I found nothing of importance there.



Fortunately Anita’s room had more to discover.


I didn't mean this!

Among all the Marxist writings I found a letter from anonymous friend, asking Anita to come to the well at the middle of night - and indeed, you can see Anita moving at the well, waiting for someone, who never shows up. Who wanted to mess with Anita in such a way and why?

I also read a newspaper found in Anita’s room. There’s once again discussion of white slavery, which I am starting to think is just a red herring, but there’s also an interesting news about the opposition of Eritrea arming itself against Ethiopian government.



This is a piece of real history, since Eritrea had to fight a few decades for its independence, but it seems also linked with the dealings which the mysterious Lady in Black has had with a figure known as Menelik - perhaps she is supplying guns to the Eritrean independence army?

On to the original scene of the crime, that is, the room of kidnapped girl, Marie. It appeared she had left the place in a hurry. Window had been broken, her teacup smelled of camphor, bed was left untidy and an ashtray was clean, although Marie had the habit of smoking a cigarette before going to sleep - all indications that someone or something had forced her to get out of her room.



I also found a letter from Bob, who promised Marie he will soon have enough money to take her away from Maupiti, and a paper naming all the twelve songs you can play with the mechanical piano downstairs.

A more thorough investigation revealed all sorts of curious details. Marie’s aquarium contained a piece of glass, probably from the broken window, and also a strangely shaped stone with a carving of a skull.


This will be important

 Behind the aquarium was a secret cache, from which I found a strange closed box with five stones - the stones could be pushed, but nothing much was achieved by that. The box bore an inscription “Jemelos y indivisibles”. The last two words mean probably “and indivisible”, but the word “jemelos” isn’t so easy to decipher. After desperate googling I decided it must be some variation on the Spanish word “gemelos”, which means simply twins.


Surely there's some trick to open it?

At some point, someone (probably Roy) comes and breaks a bookshelf in Marie’s room. Luckily, this also gives Lange an access to the contents of the bookshelf. The only thing I could find in the shelf was a book on pirates and finding their treasures. There was a reference to Captain Kidd and cryptograms - a clear nod to Poe’s Gold-Bug.  The book also contained a number of unsolved riddles that should lead to some treasures.







Could the stone with the skull be some sort of reference to pirates? And the doubloons found in strange places all over the island? The denizens confirmed that Maupiti had been home to pirates - the deadly Vargas brothers, who terrorized the Indian Ocean long ago.

Searching Maguy’s room I found firstly a letter from Bruce, who proposed a marriage to Maguy and apologized for a fling that had happened between him and Marie. And that man still keeps insisting he’s a virgin!

Maguy appeared to have horded a number of keys, which soon came in handy, when I discovered a trapdoor under a mat in her room.


I know my Zork well enough to look under a rug

Opening the trapdoor, I found myself in a hidden cave beneath the building.



Caves were apparently an important part of the mythology of Maupitis, because they were the lair of Waysayby, an evil demon battling the Walassou. They were also rumoured to hold the treasure of the Vargas brothers, although no treasure hunter had seen them. Maguy was apparently quite aware of this cave.


Likely story

Yet, no treasure was to be found. Instead, I found a carving of two men looking at each other - perhaps the Vargas brothers? Inscribed above this picture was again the same writing “Jemelos y indivisibles”, which I found in the hidden box in Marie’s room.

Around the picture, there were some strange symbols. I quickly noted that these symbols were placed symmetrically - the same symbols occurred on the left side and on the right side of the picture.






Can you recognise the symbols?
Although the symbols at first looked a bit unfamiliar, I then remembered I had drawn exactly similar pictures as a schoolboy. For instance, there’s one symbol that looks like M, which you’ll get if you draw 1 on right and its mirror image on left. I quickly deciphered that the numbers were 2, 5, 1, 3, 7 and 4. Great! My first instinct was to try these on the stones on the box, which was a bit problematic, since the box had only five stones and there was 7 to reckon with. Needless to say, nothing happened.

Below the picture of two men, there was yet another mystery. Something was inscribed down there, in mirror image, but the problem was that some letters were missing and I had no idea how to complete the words. Thus defeated in my attempts to solve the enigma of pirates, I had to move on.


Yet another mystery

There was only one room left in Maguy’s house, and it was locked. After talking with everyone, I learned that the keys to the room were held by Maguy and that the room had belonged to Lucie. Who was this person?











Blond snoop? This sounded interesting! But where was Lucie then? One day she had just left, which Sue thought was odd, because Sue had owed her some money. Juste mentioned that Lucie had messed his cabin and broken his amulet before leaving. Roy finally revealed he had hidden Lucie in Bamboo and left her at Port-Louis in Mauritius.

Luckily, one of the keys I had found at Maguy’s room opened the door to Lucie’s former room. The only thing of interest I could find was a single black hair.



But Lucie was supposed to be blonde! Then again, when I remembered my hypothesis about a brunette police officer working undercover in Maupiti and using a blonde wig, it became quite evident that Lucie was probably this secret agent.

But why would Lucie’s wig be found in ocean near Maupiti? Could it be that instead of helping her away from Maupiti, Roy would have killed Lucie, just like he later killed Juste, who had discovered her wig? But where was her body then? Could it be that the disfigured corpse found at the end of the second day wasn’t Marie, but Lucie? Could Marie be still alive somewhere?

Session Time: 10 hours
Total Time: 18 hours

9 comments:

  1. The number of screenshots of letters with "A little reading" on them suggest that the developers need to learn the definition of the word "little". This game seems full of French letters, and not the fun kind.

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    1. True, with many screenshots combined, the "little reading" starts to sound a bit ironic. Then again, it's a bit of a genre convention - it's hard to make a detective game without some written documents to investigate. At least the letters, books etc. are mostly comprehensible, unlike in Mortville Manor. They must have hired a better translator.

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  2. Jemelos y indivisibles - I'm guessing along the lines of 'the twins can't be separated'?

    This game has this little glimmer of hope to it that makes me think maybe there's something to it. I expect a French driver on the other end of that train of thought, though.

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    1. I'd say that would be a good translation.

      The game does have a decent and complex plot, with enough details that it cannot be put into few sentences - it just takes time and patience to dig it up. Whether the game still manages to screw it up or whether it has a satisfactory ending - well, I'll leave that for tomorrow.

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    2. Funny thing is that's not French, and not even good Spanish. It should be spelled "Gemelos e indivisibles".

      And congratulations on the marathonic session Ilmari, but don't even think of liking this game! I know your evil plan! ;-)

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    3. I think it's supposed to be Spanish - Vargas sounds like a Spanish surname. But I'm interested - is "jemelos" just gibberish or is it more like not preferred variant?

      Can't I like it even a little bit? ;) To tell the truth, there's things I liked about the game and things I definitely didn't like. The full review comes out tomorrow, but let's just say that this one was a difficult game to evaluate.

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  3. What's the deal with the "look out, you're on the wrong track" on a few of the screenshots?

    A+ for "Juste say no" caption

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    1. It's essentially just a "syntax error" of the game - I have tried some action that doesn't lead to anything.

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  4. I've not seen much of this kind of games but this looks fun

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