Friday, 10 May 2013

Game 31: Mean Streets - Yosemite Scam

Tex Murphy Journal Entry 9: “It’s difficult not to be a little bit jealous of this Ron Morgan character. I spent today travelling between and investigating his various high priced homes, attempting to find his passcard. I couldn’t find it anywhere in his Yosemite cabin, but I did find the nav codes for two other locations that he owned. I eventually found the card in his San Diego beach house, but retrieving it wasn’t a simple task. Once I’d managed to switch off the alarm system, I then had to figure out how to avoid getting my arm eaten off by piranhas to retrieve the card. There are only two remaining cards to find (since I managed to retrieve Cal Davis' from the ape also), yet I only have one nav code left to explore. Hopefully this Lola Lovetoy chick can help me track down Big Jim Slade. Now there’s a confrontation I look forward to!”

I'd seriously love to have a cabin like this!

Mean Streets is long! I don’t mean that in a bad way, but I have a feeling I’ll be going well over ten gameplay posts before I see this one out. Every time I feel like I must be on the verge of the game’s climax, I uncover a bunch more leads and things open up again. I finished my last post just after having questioned Della Lang, who gave me the navigation code for Ron Morgan’s cabin. I’ve always wanted to go to Yosemite, so I immediately set off for NC 1998. I arrived to find that this was going to be another room investigation, and began at the fireplace in the top left corner. There I found a diploma, a switch on the wall, a moose head, a side chair, and the fireplace itself. I couldn’t do much with the diploma, but looking at the switch revealed that it was for the gas log in the fireplace. I thought I’d look in the fireplace before switching it on, and that turned out to be pretty fortunate. Next to the gas log was a wadded paper, which read: “Professor, in accordance with your instructions, I have moved your computer equipment to your beach house.”

Is Ron Morgan Batman?

Unfortunately I had no idea where this beach house was, but at least I knew why Ron’s computer wasn’t in the cabin. I then turned my attention to the moose head, beneath which I discovered a latch containing $500 in cash! Moving the chair revealed a phillips head screwdriver, which I picked up to go along with my slot screwdriver. I walked over and looked at the TV at the back of the room, discovering a small compartment within which I found a “key to a small lock-box”. I couldn’t help wondering why all these people felt it necessary to hide things in little compartments within every bit of furniture, but put the thought aside to continue exploring. I turned on the TV, and smiled as Star Trek appeared on the screen, meaning I’d discovered another of Ilmari’s references. With that done, I made my way over to Ron’s desk, where there was a chair, a book case, and a trash can. There was a fax machine on the desk and I was told that there was jagged paper “as if someone had hurriedly torn the last message away.” There was also a drawer in the desk, but as usual I didn’t have the key.

(Insert Star Trek music here)

Neither the chair nor the bookcase revealed anything out of the ordinary, so I looked in the trash. There I found another wadded up paper (presumably the fax message) that read: “Dear Ronny, last night was incredible. You’re incredible, but I need my nylon’s back. Yours always, Della.” Clearly Ron was quite the lover, or so Della thought anyway. I found that I could interact with the rug on the right side of the room, and moving it revealed a loose floorboard. Underneath the floorboard was another small compartment, within which I found an emerald and ruby necklace worth $2000, a property deed for 1 acre of land near Bakersfield with NC 1710, and 50 rounds of ammunition. Score! Perhaps the acre of land was where the beach house was? I moved down to the small table in the bottom right corner of the room, on which were placed a newspaper, a magazine and a microwave breakfast. The newspaper was opened to a page describing the death of Carl Linsky, but the magazine was Calculus Monthly. Looking at it caused a message to come up telling me that “each minute skimming articles brings you closer to impending doom”, so I let it go.

Tex really has a talent for valuing precious items

The microwave breakfast was uninteresting, so I moved onto the final section in the room where there was a couch and an end table. Looking at the couch revealed a cushion, underneath which I found a small steel handcuff key. The end table also had a key that “would fit a desk or file cabinet”, which I found in an otherwise empty ashtray. I used this key to open the drawer in the desk, uncovering a photograph and a mortgage book. I had a good chuckle when I looked at the photograph: “A picture of an attractive woman in lingerie. You frantically search for more, but find none.” Putting my disappointment aside, I checked out the mortgage book to find it was a “payment book for a beach house located near San Diego (NC 6470)". So now I knew where Ron’s computer was located, and most likely his passcard! Having fully explored the cabin, I entered the nav codes for both the acre of land and the beach house into my spreadsheet. Scanning the list revealed that the closest unvisited location was the acre of land , so I entered 1710 into my speeder navigation console and went straight there.

We get it! Della and Ron were getting it on!

This ended up being a dead end, with no structures or buildings on the land at all. Since I was reasonably close to Cal Davis’ apartment at this point, I decided it was a good time to go try and get the small box off the ape. As soon as I arrived, I walked over to the cage and tried to move the box. Having the ten foot pole that I’d recently found in Greg Call’s laboratory meant I was able to move the box over and open it without getting killed by the violent ape, inside which I found the orange passcard and $1000 in cash. That meant I now had the yellow, orange, blue, purple and green passcards, with only three more to find. I quickly walked over to Cal’s computer and swiped the card, entering his password when asked to (I knew it was “checkmate” as it was written in code on a note I’d found in the desk drawer earlier). Once I’d gained access to the computer I was able to read through Davis’ experiment log. Rather than type it out, I’ve included all the screenshots below. In short, Cal had been inserting microchips into ape’s brains, finding he could manipulate their movements as a result. He then noticed serious side effects in his subjects, including brain damage and death, so was shocked when he was given instructions to continue his experiments on humans!

 I feel bad for suggesting Cal Davis was an evil man. I guess he was still injecting microchips into ape brains though!

We now know that Cal Davis’ refusal to experiment on humans led to his death, and my assumption that he had been responsible for the chip in Linsky’s brain was incorrect. With the fifth passcard in my possession, I looked at my lead list to find that Brenda Perry was the next lead I hadn’t yet visited. However, closer to my current location was Ron Meat, who Steve Clements told me might be able to help me find Big Jim Slade. I made my way to the one-eyed freak’s home, and questioned him about Slade. “I saw him a week ago throwing money around like it grew on trees. He said he’s been real busy lately, and that means people are getting bumped off. I don’t know where he is now, but if I hear something, I’ll let you know.” That hadn’t been the result I’d been after, but I still had a feeling that the Big Surf Hotel was the key to finding Slade, so wasn’t too concerned. I hopped back in the speeder and travelled to Brenda’s house, only to hit yet another dead end. She answered my questions, but she’d only started at MTC about 6 weeks ago and knew nothing important.

You have to wonder why they put so much effort into describing useless locations.

With Brenda crossed off the list, I decided to check out the Big Surf Hotel. Once again I was merely given a description of what occurred there, but this time it wasn’t a dead end. I spoke to the man at the desk and saw that Big Jim Slade was registered in the book as being in room 305. He’d apparently already left the day before, but I was given the key to check out his room anyway. “There’s a few empty beer bottles, cigarette butts on the floor, and a playboy magazine featuring the girls of freaktown. In the garbage can is a fax that says “Add Lola Lovetoy to your hit list. The boys at MTC think she knows too much.” The initials at the bottom of the fax are “R,K.”” This was proof that Big Jim Slade was being hired by Robert Knott (the leader of Law and Order) to take out anyone that knew too much about MTC and Overlord. It also meant I had another lead to add to my ever-growing list...Lola Lovetoy! That left me with the choice of visiting Lola at 4603 or Ron Morgan’s beach house at 6470. I took the latter, assuming that meeting Lola would most likely add more leads to the list or perhaps even lead to the game’s climax.

Who would put their initials on the bottom of a hit request?

Breaking into the beach house set the alarm off, leaving me with only five minutes to find a way to turn it off. As usual, I chose to ignore the alarm and explore the room as though I had all the time in the world. I walked to the top left corner where I found a computer, a chair, a desk, a bookcase, and a lamp. I couldn’t access the computer without Ron’s passcard, and the chair did nothing, so I looked at the desk. Unsurprisingly there was a locked drawer for which I didn’t have the key, but there was also an answering machine with one recorded message on it: “Ron, this is Della…call me.” That didn’t help my situation, so I checked out the bookshelf. I was informed that “one book, high on the top shelf, is a chess book.” Opening it revealed a memo taped inside the cover that had Ron’s encoded password (“etsaelmat”), which wasn’t hard to decode. Finally I looked at the lamp, where I discovered a can of piranha food. I picked it up and moved onto the fish tank in the bottom left corner of the room. It seemed clear what I would find in it!

Another amazing Ron "Jeremy" Morgan pad!

Looking at the fish tank revealed that there was a Nexus computer passcard sitting half buried on the bottom. I figured trying to get it out would result in my hand, and the majority of my arm, being eaten off by the vicious fish, so I turned my attention to the base of the tank. There was a small door at the bottom, behind which I found a book titled “Learning to Love and Care for Your Piranha”. It seemed to me that the book was just another hint to the player that the fish were not entirely friendly, but before I could hold my breath and attempt to “get” the passcard, I ran out of time. I restored, collected the fish food, and then gave it a shot. “You dump the piranha food in the tank, and they feed ravenously. When they are finished, you are able to reach into the tank and get the card.” I now had the red passcard, and since I also knew the password was “stalemate”, I walked straight over to the computer and logged in. Ron’s personal log didn’t tell me much apart from the fact he’d got himself out of town once he sensed the danger he was in for his involvement with Overlord. So I now had what I needed, but my five minutes to get out of the room were rapidly diminishing once again!

You haven't made it until you have a tank full of piranhas!

I turned my attention to the couch area, where I also found a lamp, a table and a console. The console had three switches, and I hoped one of them would turn the alarm off. The first one simply turned the lamp on and off, the second one opened up a panel containing a small safe which I had no key for, but fortunately for me the third switch did indeed stop the timer from going down any further. Sighing in relief, I set out to explore the remaining sections of the room. The top right section contained a plant, a chair and a lamp, but I didn’t seem to be able do anything with any of it. The bottom right section contained a microwave, a fridge and a freezer. There was nothing interesting in the microwave or the freezer, but I did find a video tape on the top of the fridge that was titled Top Heavy Beach Bimbos From Mars. I eagerly tucked it away in my inventory for a more suitable time. With Ron’s beach house completed, there was only one nav code left on my list to visit. I set my speeder to take me to Lola Lovetoy, feeling like my investigation could soon be wrapping up…

The burglar alarm switch is positioned on the table in the middle of the room and labelled "Burglar Alarm"?

Session Time: 1 hours 30 minutes
Total Time: 13 hours 00 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'm a little bit disappointed there was nothing interesting at Big Surf Hotel. That was one of the most memorable parts of Overseer for me.

  2. The burglar alarm might be in the middle of the table in the middle of the room, blaringly obvious and marked, but you still almost ran out of time before locating it. Maybe having it in a really unlikely location (in your face) is the best way to go about it? :p

    I never realized how long Mean Streets is compared to other games from the same era. Only Codename: ICEMAN and Manhunter 2 has ended up with longer playtime than where you are now, and Manhunter 2 with only 30 minutes.

    Oh, and if you are lacking cash (I don't think you are), vg frrzf yvxr lbh znl unir zvffrq obgu pnfu naq n cnjanoyr vgrz va gur ornpu ubhfr.

    1. I did run out of time once before finding the switch, but that was only because I was capturing screenshots. There's no doubt that capturing screenshots has increased my game time significantly, and when you add the amount of travel time between locations and my OCD need to ask everyone about everything, I think it's safe to say that I've taken a lot longer to play Mean Streets than most people would. Probably by up to two or three hours!

      Oh, and yes, I did see that you can up with a better way to get screenshots, but I only recently saw that and had got into the habit of taking them manually by then. I'm certain it would work too!

    2. Not only work, but faster and better too! :p

      Just kidding, as long as it doesn't slow you down too much with...what, 1000 images now? Seems like you're all set for!

    3. I'm surprised you don't just run one of those 'take a screenshot every X seconds' programs. It seems like it would be easier.

  3. GOG's having an Adventure game sale weekend...

    1. Wow, The Longest Journey and Dreamfall!

  4. The 7th Guest is on sale at GOG and there's a preorder for a very nice looking point and click adventure game called The Night of the Rabbit.

  5. I was wondering how they'd get around the fact that there are eight passcards and only six piece types in chess.