Sunday 28 April 2013

Game 31: Mean Streets - Eye of the Beholder

Tex Murphy Journal Entry 4: “I paid a visit to seven leads on the Linsky case today, with varying results. I’m convinced that Blaze Wiener, David Pope and Maurice Gribble have nothing to do with MTC Corporation or Overlord, so am scratching them off the books. More positively, Detective Clements gave me a copy of Linsky’s apparent suicide note, Delores Lightbody (damn that’s one ugly lady!) gave me the nav code for John Klaus and the name and location of Linsky’s insurance agent Peter Dull, and John Klaus was helpful enough to give me the passcard and password for his Nexus terminal. That leaves Sonny Fletcher, who was quite a piece of work! He may be a good detective, but he’s also a crook, demanding loads of cash for any information whatsoever. I paid up a fair portion of Sylvia’s $10K to get the answers I needed out of him, but it was definitely worth it. I’ve got three new leads to seek out, and know the locations of two of them. It appears tomorrow will be just as busy as today!”

I think I've got a pretty good knowledge of San Francisco landmarks now!

I hinted at the end of my last Mean Streets gameplay post that Detective Steve Clements would be my next target for questioning. I began this session by setting my speeder nav code to 4680, but this time I decided to try out the autopilot feature of the vehicle. To this point I had been manually directing the speeder, just to make sure I had very good control in case I need to do something that requires precise manoeuvring later on in the game. It seemed a bit silly to not take advantage of the autopilot though, particularly for those longer trips where I could go and get a cup of coffee and then come back to my speeder parked at the destination. The autopilot worked perfectly of course, with the only oddity being that it went up to a completely unnecessary altitude (11274 feet) in the process. I guess the system is making 100% sure that it’s not going to run into some tall structure while the passenger isn’t paying attention.

Auto pilot makes the game infinitely more bearable

Detective Clements answered all of my questions, and there was some pretty useful stuff as well. At least it would have been extra useful if I hadn’t already visited Bash Dagot earlier in the game. Clements told me that Bash had witnessed Linsky’s suicide and also told me where to find him, which of course I already knew. On the plus side, he gave me a copy of the suicide note that Linsky had apparently written before he jumped. “Sylvia, I’m too tired and too sick of living. Please forgive me – Dad.” That was proof enough for Clements that it was indeed a suicide, but it clearly wasn’t enough for Sylvia. When I asked him about John Klaus, one of the names on the list of possible scientists involved with Overlord, he told me that “Klaus and Linsky used to work together. They had a falling out over Ms. Lightbody. I don’t think Klaus ever forgave Linsky for taking his woman”. This Delores Lightbody chick must be really something to cause these two grown men to fight over her!

More apparently!

I didn’t get anything else useful from Clements, apart from the fact that Sylvia is a bit frisky and that the Law & Order Party scares him. It was therefore time to go and meet the infamous Delores Lightbody! I made my way to her rich looking neighbourhood and realised it was Ghirardelli, the very same place that I’d spent quite a bit of time during Manhunter: San Francisco. Ms. Lightbody answered her door, and OMG!!!!!! That has to be one of the most outrageously ugly women I’ve ever seen! Tex himself agreed with my assessment: “Ms. Lightbody is not what I expected. She has the face of a saint... a Saint Bernard.” I’m guessing that Linsky and Klaus’ fight over Delores is part of some joke by the game creators. Either that or Sylvia’s suggestion that the beast of a woman must have used black magic to seduce her father is actually correct! I set my shock aside and began to question her.

Um...yes...very lucky indeed!

She had a fair bit to say about Linsky and Klaus of course. “Carl was my fiancé, and he had been quite upset lately. He was worried about the project he was working on. He wouldn’t talk about it in specifics. Carl lived at NC4660, but he didn’t work there. I think he had a lab somewhere in the city. His work must have been for the Government because everything was top secret.” So, either Delores was in denial or Linsky never told her that the wedding was off! “Carl and John Klaus were partners once. I was dating John at the time, but when I met Carl I fell head over heels in love with the little cutie. When I told John, he flew into a rage and vowed never to work with Carl again. I see him from time to time, but lately he’s been acting very strange. He believes he is in danger. He’s hiding out in Reno, Nevada right now. Use NC 7012.” Well there was something useful! I added Klaus’ NC to the spreadsheet and continued the questioning.

Sandra Larsen is off Delores' Christmas card list

Asking Delores about Sylvia also resulted in valuable information: “Sylvia and I never got along very well. When her father died, she was quite upset. She was even more upset when she talked to Peter Dull, the insurance agent. It seems the insurance company would not pay the 1,000,000 dollars because her father’s death was declared a suicide.” I hadn’t heard of Peter Dull yet, so I added him to the list of leads. I didn’t have an NC for him though, but that was remedied when I asked Delores about him. “He was Carl’s insurance agent. He works at NC 4674.” I continued to ask the hideous woman about everything imaginable, but came up with nothing more of note. Keen to get away from her, I looked at my spreadsheet and found that Sonny Fletcher was next on the list to visit. He’d been working with Linsky on Overlord before his death, so should definitely be a valuable source. I entered 5170 into the nav console and surfed the net for a while as the speeder autopiloted the 350 miles that it took to get there! It looks like the NC 5000-5999 range is a long way away from NC 4000-4999.

Oh boo hoo hoo

I arrived at Sonny Fletcher’s apartment and found yet another odd looking individual. It seems to me that the game developers tried to make each and every character memorable, but some of them look like Jim Henson creations. It quickly became apparent that Sonny had no interest in answering any of my questions unless I opened my wallet and dished out the cash.  By this stage of the game I’d pulled together a list of 28 names and questions to fire at each person I came across, and I was forced to pay $5300 for 18 answers out of this stingy bastard. Not all of his answers were useful mind you, which leads me to something I wanted to raise for a while. What’s to stop me from paying Sonny the $5300, getting all the answers I needed, then restoring my game back to arriving at his apartment? It’s cheating of course, but if the game allows me to do it, then it would actually seem a little bit silly not to take advantage of it. In the end I decided to take the restore option, then pay Sonny for the answers that I actually required to progress. I can sleep at night!

Thanks for the tip buddy!

So what did I find out from Sonny? My question regarding Linsky was met with: “Linsky hired me to check out a corporation called MTC. He had been hired to do research into increasing a person’s mental abilities. As the work progressed however, he realised they had different intentions. When I started my investigation into MTC, I received threats on my life and was even shot at a few times. I tried to warn the Professor, but it was too late. I think they iced him, but I have no idea how they did it. If you want more information on MTC, check with Wanda Peck.” When I questioned him about Wanda Peck, I was able to get her location: “You’ll find her at the San Francisco Chronicle at NC 4621.” Sonny was also a very good source of information regarding the various companies that the manual suggested I question people about. To this point I’d picked up small tidbits of info, but I received a much clearer picture through my bribery here.

Yes, I tried threatening Sonny. It didn't turn out well!

MTC: “MTC is the Management Training Center for Gideon. It’s the small facility where Gideon personnel attend training seminars. Then about a year ago, MTC started hiring scientists. Most employees were not even aware this was going on. Rumor has it that the scientists were hired to work on a secret project called OVERLORD.” Gideon Enterprises: “Gideon Enterprises is a big electronics firm located at NC 4650. They specialize in high tech secret work for the government. It used to be run by J. Saint Gideon, but now its run by Frank Schimming. I hear he forced Gideon out and took over the company.” Nexus: “Professor Linsky said the Nexus passcards and passwords were vital to stopping the Overlord Project. I was hired to help him find them. Linsky’s passcard is in a bandaid can at his lab. You’ll need it to operate the Nexus computer. Law and Order: The Law and Order Party is a big fascist organisation, and they hate the freaks. The President’s name is Robert Knott. I think they are involved with MTC and Overlord, but I wasn’t able to find a direct connection.”

At least someone around here is telling it how it is, even if I did have to pay for it

Money well spent I say! I had three new names (Wanda Peck, Frank Schimming and Robert Knott), and also got the nav codes for two of them (I couldn’t get Robert Knott’s code). I asked Lee and Vanessa about Robert, but my informant gave me nothing and my secretary only told me that he’s the “head of the Law and Order Party, but no-one knows how to find him. He is totally secretive.” Right, who was next on the lead list?! It was the first of the three scientists that Linsky and Fletcher were investigating for possible ties with Overlord, David Pope. This turned out to be a worthless trip, as Pope works for a company that trains large mutated cockroaches and beetles to be butlers and factory workers. I crossed him off the list and set out for the second scientist, John Klaus. When I arrived at his office, he was very shocked that I’d managed to find him, but he seemed willing to answer my questions. I can’t say he gave me much that was useful regarding any of my leads, although his comments about Delores Lightbody were shocking to say the least! “Delores? What can I say, other than she’s a babe. The chick can really move on the dance floor.” I figure the woman could move the entire dancefloor, but you know, each to their own!

Whatever floats (sinks?) your boat mate!

Once I started questioning Klaus about the company he’d previously worked for, things became much more interesting. “I was told that Overlord was a project designed to enhance an executive’s mental capacity and performance. But as the project progressed I grew suspicious. When I started asking questions, I was threatened. I figured it was time to go underground for a while.” He then gave me his green passcard and told me that his password is “PAWN”! I’d only come across one Nexus terminal so far (in Linsky’s warehouse), and had used the blue passcard and password to access that. Klaus didn’t tell me where I could find his terminal, nor did I know where he lived previously. I just had to assume that I would come across it at some point. That was all I could get out of Klaus, leaving one of the three potential scientists left to visit. Maurice Gribble!

Oh I see what you did there!

Just as with David Pope, Maurice turned out to have nothing to do with Overlord. I was given a message that described my visit to his home, and how he’d told me that he’d been in retirement for a number of years and generally just played golf now. Well, that was another one crossed off the list. My next lead turned in a similar result, with my long trip to Blaze Wiener, sitting in a dugout eating lunch, giving me yet another message telling me the bad news. This visit did at least explain the threatening note that I’d found in Linsky’s apartment! “Ya, I was upset about the grade I got in Linsky’s class and I sent the note, but I got over it. When he died I was out of town.” Rather humorously, when I asked Blaze what he was eating, his answer was “it’s red herring.” Dead ends don’t come any clearer than that! That my friends is another hour and a half of Mean Streets done and dusted! I questioned four leads and crossed three others off the list in that time, and I’ve still got a lengthy list of people to visit. I hope my next session contains some actual adventure style investigation though. I'm getting a bit bored with questioning people!

Very subtle!

Session Time: 1 hours 30 minutes
Total Time: 4 hours 45 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!


  1. I don't understand the purpose of the flight controls if you can just turn on the auto-pilot. Is there any benefit to the manual controls?

    1. From memory, the only purpose of the flight controls is to give you something to do while waiting XX minutes to get to your destination.

      And because there's no 'fast forward to destination' button this gets the 'stupidest idea in an adventure game ever' award from me.

    2. It started out as a flight game where they wanted to tack on a story. During development the adventure game bits kind of took over, but the underlying flight game is still present.

      And that's why there's an autopilot, for those that want to experience it just as an adventure game instead.

    3. Yeah but it'd be better if there had been an option to bypass that whole section, not just an autopilot, since you still have to figure out how to operate the autopilot and then wait 5-10 minutes to get to the next location.

  2. Wasn't it Schimming with SCH? (hope you haven't been typing the name wrong in the game)

    1. Quite right! Thankfully I had it right in my spreadsheet. It was just a typo in my post. Correcting now!

  3. You know, a good P.I. focuses on the leads he has and promising venues of questioning...might take some of the tedium out of asking everybody everything. ;)

    1. I'm sure you're right, but I've found out interesting stuff by being methodical! Plus I kind of enjoy the process of being so thorough.

    2. No doubt, but it could for instance minimize the need for "cheating" regarding your conversation with Sonny.

      But hey, we all play games differently, who's to say what's the right or wrong way? :p

  4. Seems like they're already working on LSL2:Reloaded as well.

  5. I have a question for those playing the game.

    In the flight sequences, is there any scenery or terrain?

    For example, do you get to drive through the Golden Gate Bridge or dodge past Coit Tower or anything?

    I played the game over 10 years ago and seem to be thinking that the only purpose of the flight game is to waste time, but if the flight simulator could be a game in itself it's my memory that screwed up by ignoring a decent flight simulator because I wanted a pure adventure game.

    1. Some are there yes, like Golden Gate Bridge and the Transamerica Pyramid, although there aren't a huge number of them. I don't think there's enough landscape variety to let it stand on its own feet as a flight game/sim as it is, but that might be because they moved away from the idea during development and didn't put enough effort into it for it to be perfectly standalone.

      That being said, I wasn't much into flight sims in those days to make a decent comparison to other games in the same period.

  6. Well, flight simulators from the end of 80s looked like this more or less. Landscapes were very simple and apart from targets some blocky objects could be visible from time to time.