Sunday, 5 May 2013

Game 31: Mean Streets - Dead Man's Wrest

Tex Murphy Journal Entry 8: “I spent most of today in science laboratories, but it wasn’t as boring as that sounds. After all, it’s not often you discover a dead body while investigating a lead! Bosworth Clark’s lab was trashed, and he was lying dead on the floor, clearly murdered by a pro. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to recover his passcard, but I did get a couple of leads that may or may not lead to the killer, not to mention a pair of gloves that eventually did lead to a card. I needed them to remove a thorny vine in Greg Call’s lab, and hidden behind it was his purple passcard. That was the third one I’d managed to recover, and it was shortly joined by a fourth. It took a fair bit should I say it...persuasion!!! get Sam Jones to hand over his yellow passcard, but he eventually realised that doing so was going to be the least painful option available to him. Four out of eight ain’t bad, but it’s for nothing if I can’t find the rest.”

Previously, on Mean Streets...

I’ll refrain from chit chat here and just get on with it. There is much to get through! My last post ended with me discovering the hidden button that opened the door out of Greg Call’s laboratory. The timer was still going down though, so I was going to have to get a move on. I made my way to the bottom right corner of the room, where another stalagmite, a flat file, and a vine awaited me. I couldn’t find anything to do with the stalagmite this time, but the flat file was actually a large map of California, with navigation code 1700 circled. It was described as “Lost Dutchman diamond mine”, which sounded like a rewarding place to visit. I picked up the map and looked at the vine, which was wrapped around the stalagmite. When I tried to move it I was told that “it’s full of thorns and rips your hands. There’s a shelf cut into the stalagmite, but to move the vine, you’ll need to have protection for your hands.” I imagined I would need to find some gloves and come back to this later. Before going any further, I wanted to test a theory. I walked out of the room through the door and then back in. Yep, the timer was gone, and I was free to explore for as long as I needed.

Oh come on Tex you big pussy! Move the frickin vine!!!

The only remaining accessible part of the room was the top right corner, which contained a desk, a fax, a computer, a circuit box and the robot I’d noticed as soon as I’d entered the room. The desk had a drawer, but as usual, I didn’t have the key for it. I couldn’t operate the computer without the passcard either or do anything with the fax, so I turned my attention to the circuit box. I opened the box with the key found in the chamber, and found it contained two switches. The first switch was a simple light switch, but the second one was an “energy field switch”. I turned off the energy field, which caused the red beams that had previously stopped me accessing the computer system on the left side of the room to disappear. I checked out the robot, but it quickly became apparent that it was there as a reference to Lost in Space and nothing more, calling out “danger, danger” over and over again. All that was left to do was to go see what I could do with the console that was now accessible.

Great! I now have access to is this thing again?

The console contained a plutonium unit (aka inertial confinement unit), a control panel and a fusion generator. I wasn’t able to do anything interesting with the unit or the generator, but the control panel contained a switch to turn the inertial confinement unit on and off. I switched it on, and heard a loud humming that increased in volume. Nothing noticeable happened though, no matter how many times I switched it on or off. Perhaps I’ll need to use this at a later point! Right, with Greg Call’s laboratory fully explored, it was time to move onto the next location, which just happened to be another lab. Peter Dull had told me where to find Bosworth Clark’s laboratory out in Death Valley, where he spent his time working with satellites. On arrival I discovered the lab completely trashed, and Clark’s dead body in the middle of the floor!!! Yet another scientist involved in Overlord had been taken out!

It looks like my three year old daughter has been in here...apart from the dead body of course!

I began my exploration, as I normally do, in the top left corner, where there was a cabinet, a power unit, a robot, and a door. I tried opening the cabinet and was told that I should use the door, so I’m not really sure why the game listed the two items separately. I couldn’t do much with the power unit, and while I could turn the robot on and off (causing it to move back and forward), nothing of interest happened. When I tried to open the cabinet door I found it locked, and typically I didn’t have the key. I moved onto the tipped over table in the bottom left, where I found cigarette butts, a match book, a list, and some broken glass. The cigarette butts happened to be the exact same brand (Camel) that I’d found near the rat cages in Cal Davis’ apartment, making me think whoever murdered Cal also took out Bosworth. The matchbook was from the Big Surf hotel, and it even gave me the nav code of 5162. Inside the matchbook I found the handwritten address of Bosworth Clark, so it looks like whomever the murderer was spent some time at the hotel at some point. I put it on the spreadsheet to check out.

I thought you said he was a pro!

The list was titled “Caged Rats”, and apparently contained the names of several top civic, political and business leaders in the state. If I’m right this suggests that many of the state’s leaders are being controlled through the use of microchips inserted into their skulls, which is a scary idea! I picked up the list and the broken glass, although I have no idea what good that might do me. The main console area at the back of the room contained a panel, a computer, the dead scientist, a chair, and a calendar. The panel was made up of a monitor bank and a drawer, and looking at the monitor bank revealed a switch labelled “computer monitors”. I turned the monitors on, but nothing of note happened. I tried to open the drawer, but surprise, surprise, it was locked and I didn’t have the key. It also came as no surprise that I wasn’t able to use the computer because I didn’t have Bosworth’s passcard. Perhaps he had it on him somewhere at the time of his death?

Hey Bosworth! Bosy! Hey come on mate, we're going for a few drinks at the pub. Meet us there?

Looking at Bosworth revealed that he had probably died within the last 18 hours, and there was a thin, steel cord around his throat. This time the murderer made no effort to hide his (or her) tracks. I tried to “move” the body, and in doing so uncovered his wallet and appointment book. Within the wallet I found an ID card confirming that this was the body of Bosworth Clark and $50 cash. Surprisingly the game made a point of telling me that “stealing from a dead man is not a real class act”, although it had no qualms with me doing so at Linsky’s or Davis’ apartments. It seems it’s ok to steal from dead people, as long as their body is not actually present. The appointment book had various notations, with one marked page saying “call Frank Schimming”. Frank had mentioned to me when I questioned him about Bosworth that he’d received a message that someone named Bosworth Clark had called him, but hadn’t got around to returning the call. I didn’t have much idea what Clark might have wanted to talk to Schimming about in particular.

I'm not sure much of what I've done in this game has actually been legal, not to mention "real class".

The calendar on the wall was uninteresting until I tried moving it, which revealed a compartment. Inside I discovered 50 shares of stocks worth $500, which seemed a likely candidate to be pawned for bribe money. I made my way over to the top right section of the room, where I was able to investigate yet another control panel and some blue prints. The control panel had two switches on them labelled “satellite visual station #1” and “satellite monitor station #2”. Switching them on made images of satellites appear on the monitors, but once again, nothing of note occurred. The blueprints were for a “high-frequency relay satellite”, and I added them to my inventory. The last section in the room to examine was on the right edge, where I came across a sink and a cabinet. As with all sinks in the game thus far, I was able to turn the running water on and off, but with no purpose. The cabinet on the other hand held lots of goodies!

Oooohhh a sandwich! I haven't eaten in days!!!

The first thing I found in the cabinet was a pair of leather work gloves. Clearly these were going to be used to remove the vine from the stalagmite in Greg Call’s lab, so I eagerly picked them up. I also found a cup, which I picked up for no particular reason, and a sandwich. Moving the sandwich revealed, of all things, a file cabinet key! I took it and went straight back to the drawer in the panel at the back of the room, opening it successfully. Inside were “various computer listings of satellite transmission data, none of which make sense to you”. I snatched it up, and with nothing left to do in this lab, I hopped in my speeder and raced (if you can call it that) back to Greg Call’s lab. Since that was in reasonably close proximity to me, I was keen to find out what removing the vine with the gloves might achieve. The answer was a small shelf, and the purple passcard was sitting on it!

"Den lilla passcard sitter på sokkel." på en eller annen måte jeg savnet at du var Norsk L-E!

I grabbed the passcard, and went straight to Call’s computer. Swiping the card, I realised I didn’t know what the password was. Figuring it must be a chess related word, since all the other passwords have been, I tried a few obvious ones. “Knight” worked, and I gained access to one of Greg Call’s personal logs. “It seems that the ultimate purpose of this micro chip I’ve been designing is to control a person’s feelings and emotions by implanting the device within the brain. This must be some sort of weapon which can destroy certain parts of the mind, while leaving other areas intact. A victim could believe that he was fully capable of thought and reason and not even realise that he was under someone’s control...” There was nothing particularly new in the log, but it was interesting to note that victims would have no idea whatsoever that their actions were being controlled. I left the lab and entered the nav code for Sam Jones into the speeder console. I wasn’t too sure who Jones was, but Klaus had described him as “an arrogant old Nazi”, and “a faithful Law and Order Party member.”

It's 2033, but these screens remind me of the Apples we used when I was in year 7.

I clearly wasn’t welcome at Jones’ laboratory, and was forced to shoot many of his security guards before being able to break into the lab and confront him. When asked how I’d got past his security, Tex memorably responds with “I’ve given your security people the rest of their lives off. I’m afraid you’ll have to start taking resumes again.” Unsurprisingly, Jones wasn’t willing to answer any of my questions unless I threatened him. He eventually told me all the same stuff (about MTC and Law and Order creating a device that will help them to take over the world) that Tom Griffith had divulged. By far the most useful thing I got out of him was his yellow passcard and password (“queen”), both of which I was very happy to have in my possession. Leaving the grumpy Sam behind, I got into my speeder and travelled to the diamond mine mentioned on the map in Call’s laboratory. If nothing else, I expected to find some serious booty there to pawn, but that didn’t end up being the case. The place was completely deserted, so I assume the diamonds I found in his lab were the last ones.

Mr. Jones and me tell each other fairy tales

Scanning down my list, it seemed Della Lang was the next person on my list. Lee Chin had informed me that Della was dating Ron Morgan, so she should be able to help me locate him. Della was a funny character, with facial expressions ranging from completely ditsy to bulldog growling angry, the whole time wagging a pencil around. She had nothing of value to tell me though, apart from information about Ron: “Ron and I go out on occasion. If you are looking for him, he has a cabin near Yosemite (NC 1998). If you see him, tell him I still have those handcuffs.” So, Della is a naughty little thing! Nice to know, but it was time to move on again! I’m now off to this cabin in Yosemite, which sure sounds like a nice place to be. I’ll send you a postcard (well a post anyway) in the next day or two. I feel like I’m on the homeward stretch, only because the amount of leads to talk to is finally shrinking. Robert Knott seems to be the one to find, so I’m thinking he must play a role in the final showdown, however it plays out.

I see eighties hair styles come back in force!

Session Time: 1 hours 00 minutes
Total Time: 11 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!


  1. The diminishing site views suggest that Mean Streets isn't everyone's cup of tea. Either that or it's not conducive to entertaining reading.

    As a reward to those that are sticking around for the fun, the first to solve this riddle gets 30 CAPs.

    5 realms were made from 1
    My race then set apart
    Now I seek the pieces 4
    To go back to the start

    1. I've no idea on the riddle at first glance.. but I'll assure that it's not boredom (at least, for me!) that has kept me from commenting/viewing.. it's just life in general.

      That said? Gurer ernyyl vf bayl fb zhpu yrsg gb gur tnzr, abj.

    2. I'm enjoying reading about it. I like it when you post often and seem to be liking the game

    3. Is the answer Qrngu tngr?

    4. I'm still checking in, but I find the lack of puzzles to solve less intriguing. At least that's the sense of things I get from reading; it seems it's mostly following dialogue and leads.

    5. I found Mean Streets more fun than I remembered, so I thoroughly enjoy your posts here.

      I do wonder though, is the lower attendance due to this game, or because it's not one of the more well known ones? In that case I guess things'll pick up when we reach SQ3, otherwise when we hit Neuromancer (around next weekend if the posts continue at the same speed).

      Oh, and Google Translate hasn't put that many resources into obscure tiny languages to get the grammer entirely correct. :p

    6. Well, it was definitely not my cup of tea and there's little to surprise me, as I played it so recently, but I am still hanging here!

      I actually thought there were a number of Tex Murphy -fans in the regular commenters. If the lack of views is due to MS being a non-standard adventure game, Neuromancer probably won't turn the tide back.

      And Laukku, I just thought I'd have easy CAPs to pick up and then I saw you with the correct answer. Well, congratulations!

    7. Death Gate it is! Congratulations Laukku!

      Google or Knowledge?

    8. Shame that I wasn't around a bit earlier.. totally knew it was from the Death Gate Cycle by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman (Who's heavily involved in the story side of things with Shroud of the Avatar). Which was of course adapted into a game by Legend Entertainment.

    9. Though technically your riddle's answer is the main character ('/my/ race was set apart' and 'now /I/ seek') to reunite the realms into one again and that would be: Uncyb (ROT13ed) Also didn't need google for that either. Mmmh.. Weis and Hickman..

    10. I never read the books and haven't played the game. But if it's as good as you claim, I might have to read the books to be ready for the game in about four years. :p

    11. Knowledge... or luck, rather. I had recently stumbled onto its intro on YouTube by chance and gotten interested in it.

    12. Interesting... this is the first game that I haven't been following consistently in more than a year of visiting the site. Part of the reason is my new job, which leaves me pretty little spare time to devote to games (and I intend to change that soonish), but on the other hand I do find that posts about dialogue-heavy games are more demanding to me as a reader than those that have you work out solutions to more situational/inventory based challenges.

      That's not to say the game itself looks uninteresting - love a good crime-solving adventure.

    13. Kids have been keeping me away. They wait until I'm reading and then all 3 attack me at once. Catching up now.

    14. I moved to BC and have been spending my time doing other things (Getting trapped in a car with 4 other guys going to the Inorganic Discussion Weekend in Kelowna, playing GURPS, Skyping friends...) instead of reading. I know, I must get back in the habit.

      But yeah, my obsessively checking of every comment posted to the blog might lower your hits a bit, if it only lists number of visits instead of number of unquie visitors.

    15. Oh and I've got to finish the Death Gate books. I was almost done when I lost the next book in the series and then forgot which one I was on. I'll have to start over again now.

      My personal favourite of Marget Weis's though, was the SF books Mag Force 7 (Well, the first two anyway). It tends to be less depressing then her other recent books.

  2. I'm enjoying the posts!
    Is the answer GUR GRAFBE CEBQHPG? :)
    No seriously, perhaps GUR FCVEVG?

  3. It's gonna take a while, but your playthrough of Overseer will be really interesting based on how this Mean Streets playthrough is going (as Overseer is essentially a remake).

    That's years in the future though ;)

    1. I'm really interested to see the rest of the series now. Many people had been worried that I might write off Tex Murphy games after playing Mean Streets first, but since I really like it, it makes me wonder how good the others will be!

      Is Martian Memorandum very similar to Mean Streets or a transition between 1 & 3?

    2. Story and setting are similar, but they removed the flight and shooting sequences and made it a true point-and-click adventure instead.

      Like MS it has a focus on conversations and interrogations over standard inventory puzzles, but in a much more adventure game setting.

      The Tex Murphy series really starts to shine for me in Under a Killing Moon though (no. 3) in 1994.

    3. There are also going to be some dead ends (I counted at least two, but they were quite evident). I didn't like the dialogue tree system in Martian Memorandum at all, but the adventuring parts are enjoyable.

  4. This game lost me completely, but I'm willing to give the later games a shot, based on reputation if nothing else.

  5. What's this? An adventure game for sale on Steam? Yes it is! It's Jack Keane for only 2.49 until May 13th.

    1. Also Ankh 2: Heart of Osiris: and Ankh 3: Battle of the Gods: for 2.49 apiece, or both together in The Ankh Pack for 3.74

    2. I think I played Ankh 2 many years ago. Can't remmeber if I thought it was good or bad, so somewhere in between?

    3. That's how I'd describe the original Ankh, actually.

    4. I saved up a bunch of GoG and Steam sales for when I had time to post them.

      Then I took too long and they ended :(

  6. Here is City Quest: A Point & Click Adventure Kickstarter

    City Quest is a classic point & click adventure game with sharp wit and a clear love for its predecessors.

  7. I'm afraid my week has been rather busy work wise, so my Mean Streets roll has been cut short. I should have a post up by Friday though.

    1. No worries, works eats us all sometimes. I'll just go outside and enjoy the spring sunshine instead. :p