Yes, I've got it! It's Mic Stone! You're puzzle cannot defeat my genius!
I felt pretty good about myself at the end of my last post. Just when it looked like I was going to reach the end of my tracker recording investigation, I’d solved a puzzle that revealed one of the suspect’s names. What I hadn’t realised at the time was that Mic Stone’s profile didn’t have an address, meaning my next game session started with a bit of a letdown. All I knew about the guy was that he was aged 39 and that he worked as an Experiment Volunteer, and while that would explain why he ended up in the state in which he died (having transformed into some sort of mutant and then committed suicide), it didn't give me the lead I'd thought it had. I expected to be able to rush on over to his apartment and continue looking for clues, but instead I was going to have to look over everything that had happened so far, and try to figure out what I was supposed to do next.
OK, so I'll just pop over to Mic's house and...oh...damn!
I knew I wouldn’t be able to figure out everything that was going on in the tracker recording, but I tried my best. Two men, one of whom was Mic Stone, entered the Bank of Canton and killed Tad Timov (a member of some sort of Dragon gang). They took something from the safe in Tad’s office and appeared to have killed him by taking a large chunk out of his neck. On leaving the bank, they were confronted by another Dragon gang member, who they also killed by doing some serious damage to his throat. I discovered a large fang in the wound, suggesting at least one of the murderers was a mutant of sorts. The two then made their way to a warehouse containing crates of human body parts, where they fought each other and separated. One of them (not Mic Stone) was badly injured and made his way through the warehouse into an office. There he wrote a message in blood on a table that appeared to have been directed at someone named Zac. The message informed Zac that Mic was a traitor and that he could be located at a location called “den”.
Did Zac write this or was it written to Zac?
I can’t be certain which one the men ended up with the item from the safe. The message on the table says “me got it”, but it doesn’t say whether Mic stole it from him in the scuffle. I can only assume that he did, and that his motive for the fight was to steal the item and flee. The second man then left the warehouse and entered a pipe at the Hyde Street Pier, which I assume is where this “den” place is. Mic Stone on the other hand made his way from the warehouse to the Ferry Building, where I’d seen Phil Cook land his craft during the introduction. He entered a room there briefly before leaving, but I’ve not been able to figure out what he did there. I’m going to guess that he handed over whatever was stolen from the safe to Phil, but I could be way off the mark. Either that or he collected the bottle titled “remedy”, but it's most likely both. Either way, Mic then went into a hidden room underneath the Embarcadero Fountain and then appears to have killed himself using the “remedy”. I can’t be sure whether he meant to commit suicide or not, but my gut tells me he received the remedy as a trade for whatever was in the safe, but didn’t realise it was poison until it was too late.
Suicide or trickery? Perhaps time will tell!
Even if the above assessment was right, which I highly doubted, I couldn’t deduct from it what I should try next. I spent a bit of time looking at the “clues” I’d collected in my inventory, but none of them gave anything away either. Both the newspaper clipping and the fang suggested mutants were involved in the plot, and while the Dragon note seemed important, I couldn’t think of anywhere that “The R3 is the L1 to R4” might apply. It did dawn on me that the L could represent left and the R’s right, but I locked that away to memory for another time. That left the laundry receipt, the empty flask, the mallet, and the strange cloth with the words “rub jewel of heaven” to ponder over, but I still came up with nothing. All I could do was leave Mic’s place of death and revisit the various locations on the map in search of something I’d missed the first time around. However, on leaving the location, I was suddenly saved from my perplexity! The Orb’s contacted me!
I've never been so happy to be contacted by human-eating alien Orbs!
As in the first game, where the Orb’s would override my MAD at the end of each day to demand I hand over any rebellion names I’d uncovered, the same occurred here. “You have had sufficient time. Report suspect’s name...” I was then asked to enter the names of both suspects, although I only knew one. I typed Mic Stone and then Tad Timov for the second one, although I knew the latter was wrong. “Your reply is being processed. Return home immediately. Wait there for further orders.” I then found myself in Peter Brown’s apartment, which no doubt will be mine for the duration of the game. I was seen hopping into the hammock and going to sleep. I couldn’t help noticing the pink bunny rabbit slippers next to the hammock, which were a humorous touch in a very dark game.
Aaahhhh....I could get used to being Peter Brown!
Next thing I knew it was Day 2, and just as in Manhunter: New York, an Orb paid the apartment a visit to give me my instructions. While I’d noticed it in the introduction, it was now clearly apparent that the Orbs have two eyes, a nose, and a mouth in this game, whereas in the first game they were basically just floating eyes. I’d wondered how they were communicating with me previously, let alone eating humans, but now I could watch the Orb’s mouth move as it spoke to me. “Attention Manhunter! Boat burning on Pier 5. Investigate.” With that it was gone and I was able to view a whole new tracker recording on my MAD. I have no idea whether there is a trigger that causes the end of Day 1. I doubt it would be time related. Maybe the day ends as soon as you’ve visited every location? Or perhaps you literally have to have done everything you can with the clues available to you? I couldn’t help hope the latter, but once again I doubted it.
Actually, Peter's life seems awfully similar to my own!
Once again I planned to watch only short snippets of the tracker recording and visit each location as it is uncovered, and once again there were two suspects to follow from the outset. These two suspects walked out to a boat at the pier where someone was situated, and they appeared to have fought and killed him. They left the scene, but I immediately closed my MAD and pulled up the map to pay the pier a visit. On arrival I found a burnt out boat and since there was only one part of it that I could take a closer look at, I did. In the boat I found another dead werewolf looking creature, although this one had a muzzle on it. I picked up the muzzle and knew immediately that I would be able to use it at Tad’s apartment to get past that damn dog. Before I rushed off to do that, I investigated the corpse as thoroughly as I could. All I could find was that the creature had a broken fang and a missing finger, the first of which led me to believe that this was the body of Day 1’s second suspect.
Did they put the muzzle on him when they attacked or was it just a fashion accessory?
I had no idea what the missing finger meant, but putting my cursor over it revealed that “the finger hasn’t been gone long”. So the two new suspects killed the creature for the finger? I was eager to go find out, but before I did that, I simply had to see if the muzzle would work at Tad’s apartment. I made a beeline straight for it and entered. Within a few seconds the dog came at me, but I was ready with the muzzle and locked it over his head (the game did this without any interaction from me). It then ran back into the fireplace, leaving me to explore the apartment for the first time. I pixel hunted the room as well as I could, and came up with two very interesting things. Firstly, I found a banner on the wall with the words “HEAVEN” and “VISION” on it. Next to each were symbols made up of three lines, although the symbol next to VISION had an interruption to the middle line. What did it mean? I remembered the message on the cloth (“rub jewel of heaven”), but couldn’t see what relevance the symbol might have with that. I wasn’t able to pick up the banner, so clearly its content was all that mattered.
Why does everyone in this game just keep cryptic messages lying around?
The second item of interest in the apartment was a camera I picked up off the bench. Looking at it revealed that I could press a red button, so of course I did. A bright flash filled the screen after which I was informed by the Murry’s that I’d “just used your last flash!” I was still able to play after wasting the flash, so I’m not sure whether or not it’s completely necessary to complete the game, but I restored just in case and this time picked up the camera without using it. I tried to think of a location I’d visited previously where the camera, or more specifically the flash, might be useful. The only one that came to mind was the pitch black pipe at Hyde Street Pier where the giant rat had eaten me previously. I made my way to the pier to see if I was once again on the money, but no matter what stage I used the flash when looking through the pipe, the creature always ate me.
Haha! Got ya!
I therefore opened up the tracker recording to see where the suspects went after setting fire to the boat, and was surprised to find that they separated shortly after leaving the pier. One of them entered a building called “The Temple”, where they appeared to move towards one of four thrones and then disappeared, so I set off to find out what happened. When I arrived at the temple, I found I could enter the rather colourful building or I could go to the right of screen to another location. I chose to enter the temple, and soon found myself in the room with four thrones. In the middle of the room was a shield lying on the ground and since I didn’t seem to able to do anything else, I picked it up. Black spirit-like beings appeared on each of the thrones and began throwing things at me. I could use the left arrow to turn left and the right to turn right, and the aim of this little arcade mini-game was to block the projectiles with the shield. At first it was very easy, but then it became very difficult indeed, with stacks of high paced projectiles flying at me from all angles!
So now there are aliens, werewolf mutants and dark spirits? This ain't science fiction no more!
It took me a few goes at it, but I eventually managed to block all of the incoming projectiles, after which the spirits disappeared. My view then changed and I watched as the large green Budda-like statue rose up into the air to give me passage to a staircase beyond. Strangely, the tracker recording had implied that the suspect had sat on one of the thrones and then disappeared, but I was given no opportunity to investigate them further. I doubted that one of the suspects was actually a spirit, so maybe I was just supposed to assume that they made their way past the statue and up the stairs. I clicked on the staircase, and was then shown a view of it, with statues and candles on either side. I found that I was able to look at the statues, and that each one had a single word on a plate at its base. In clockwise order they were Gateway, Heaven, Truth, Freedom, Earth, Bridge, Hell, Castle, Balance and Action. Reading these gave me two “eureka” moments!
No, that's not ominous at all!
Firstly, the note I’d picked up in Tad Timov’s office had said “The R3 is the L1 to R4”, and the staircase seemed a perfect place to apply the Left and Right idea I’d had at the beginning of this session. I took at look at the third statue on the right, then the first on the left, and then finally the fourth on the right, hoping to make sense of the cryptic message. Taking the words from each statue, the sentence formed “The Castle is the Gateway to Hell”! In case there was any doubt that I’d uncovered something important, the Murry’s appeared onscreen with a message of their own. “OK, you figured that one out, but what does it mean??” They had a point too! As happy as I was to have solved that, the solution didn’t mean much to me. I’d certainly not come across anything resembling a castle so far in the game.
You couldn't just let me enjoy my minor victory could you!?
The second success I had at the staircase was to do with the cloth I’d picked up in the manhunter’s apartment. On it was written “Rub jewel of heaven”, and I was able to do exactly that. Rubbing the cloth on the jewel in the statue entitled “HEAVEN” caused the statue’s eyes and mouth to open! I have no idea how exactly the message was communicated to me, but I was shown the letter F, followed by what looked to me to be an oar, then the letter P, and finally what I gathered was a ruler. What was all that about? If it was indeed an oar then putting an F in front of it would produce “foar”, which could represent "for" or "four", but doing the same for the P and ruler would make “pruler”, which clearly didn't mean anything. Hmmmm...this one was going to take some thought! That’s probably enough information for one post, so I’ll stop here. Things could change quickly, but I’m still enjoying the game and still have quite a few leads to follow and puzzles to dwell on. Will the next post be where things start to turn pear shaped?
Settle down man! How could I have known that you had a metre rule?
Session Time: 1 hours 30 minutes
Total Time: 3 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!