Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Game 31: Mean Streets - An Irate Primate

Tex Murphy Journal Entry 5: “Apart from brief visits to Smiley Monroe (who told me where I could find Aaron Sternwood) and J. Saint Gideon (man that guy is old, and filthy rich!), a lot of today was spent combing through Cal Davis’ home. I nearly spent the day in a prison cell though, after setting Cal’s alarm off while entering the building. Thankfully I managed to turn off the surveillance equipment before the ten minutes ran out, giving me the chance to explore the room as long as I needed. What I uncovered there was horrifying to say the least! If I’m right, Cal Davis strapped Carl Linsky down, drilled into his head, and inserted a microchip in an attempt to control his actions. This could explain everything, but I’m going to need more proof! It is possible that Cal's role only went as far as experimenting on apes. Speaking of apes, I wasn’t able to get into the computer to find out more information, and I suspect the passcard is in the metal box guarded by an angry ape in a cage. I’m not even going to consider going in there though until I have a way to deal with that thing!”

It appears that all police stations look the same in the future!

What will today’s Mean Streets session contain? No doubt I will be travelling from location to location in my speeder, but will I be investigating locations in true adventure style or will I be questioning leads systematically in an attempt to get even more leads? Well, the next lead to visit was Detective Smiley Monroe, who could be found at NC 3614. As soon as I saw him I knew he was a jerk! He had that car salesman look, with a grin that suggested he had anything but my best intentions in mind. This first impression turned out to be bang on the money, and money was exactly what Mr. Monroe was after! There were literally only two names that he seemed to know anything about, and for both of them he responded with “My memory is a little hazy. Maybe a consulting fee would clear my head.”

Actually, it doesn't get much more honest than that!

Thankfully the $700 I bribed him with was enough to get both pieces of information out of him. Firstly, he informed me that I would find Aaron Sternwood (the guy that found Cal Davis’ body after he drank cyanide) at the beach of Santa Barbara (NC 0439). Secondly, he gave me some detail about Cal Davis’ death: “The investigation verified that Cal Davis accidentally killed himself, with a hazardous chemical. It appears that instead of drinking his Coke he took a mouthful of cyanide 631. The emergency call came in from an Aaron Sternwood, a friend of the victim. Sternwood said he mumbled something about chess and then died. When I found him, his face had the distinct bluish tinge of cyanosis. There was no evidence of foul play.” That didn’t really tell me anything I didn’t already know, although I personally doubted accidental suicide was the real cause of Cal’s death.

No, I imagine he's not a site at all.

Speaking of Cal, it was now time to pay a visit to his home in Santa Barbara. I was given a brief description of his house which ended with the following surprise: “As I enter the room, the burglar alarm sounds, and I have about 10 minutes to shut it off before the police get here...” I hadn’t been successful in shutting the alarm off in Carl Linsky’s apartment after attempting to steal an ancient fruitcake, but this time I had no choice! I pretty much gave up on the idea of switching it off within the allotted ten minutes, and instead took my time as I explored the room. When it ran out, I would simply restore and continue from where I left off, therefore negating the feeling of panic. I began in the top left corner of the room, where I found a desk, a computer, a chair, a light switch, and a wall cabinet. The desk contained a locked drawer, for which I didn’t currently have a key, and the fax machine had no messages to read. The computer was also unusable because I didn’t have the required passcard. This wasn’t going to be straightforward!

They sure jammed a lot of items to investigate into each of the rooms in the game

Nothing I tried with the chair seemed to do anything, and turning the light on and off also appeared a futile exercise. The wall cabinet was also locked, and once again I didn’t have the required key, meaning the exploration of this part of the room turned up absolutely nothing. I moved to the large table in the centre of the room where I came across some micro chip equipment, a micro chip tray, and a table lamp. Looking at the equipment revealed an on/off switch, but I was told it was broken when I tried to use it. I thought I’d be able to pick up individual microchips from the tray on the table, but I was only able to pick up the entire tray. Strangely, switching on the light revealed a key, which I can only imagine was sitting in the darkness beneath it. I picked it up, and then made my way towards the cell at the back of the room. Here I found a workbench, a switch, and the barred cage.

The table lamp: A great place to hide a key

Looking at the workbench revealed a drawer, a sink, some chemicals, a test tube, and a diet coke can. I found a memo in the drawer that read “To: Cal Davis. Subject: Nexus September password. Coded Word: EHCCETAMK.” It didn’t take much thought to decode these letters to form yet another chess related word, CHECKMATE! I picked up the memo then tried to use the sink. I could turn it on and off (which actually made water run out of it visually), but couldn’t find any use for it. I was intrigued by the chemicals and the test tubes, and since my ten minutes were quickly running out, I decided to tempt fate. I opened the test tube and then used the “taste” action, which unsurprisingly gave me cyanide poisoning and killed me. After restoring, I quickly repeated all the success I’d had in the room so far, and then picked up the chemicals, the test tube, and the diet coke can. They’re unlikely to have any use (they're more likely there to reinforce the cause of Cal’s death), but I couldn’t be certain.

Curiosity killed the cat

While the previous death was intentional, the next one wasn’t. When I looked at the cage, I was told that it was made of iron bars, and that “two eyes stare ominously at you from behind the bars.” I could then interact with either the creature or a box that was also within the cell. A closer look at the creature revealed that “an oversized ape with wild eyes stares through the bars at you.” I tried to pick up the small metal box, only to be told that “you move close to the cage and suddenly feel the vice-grip strength of the ape’s hands around your throat. He violently shakes the life out of you... – The End.” I restored and tried a couple of other options (get creature, move box, open box etc.), but they all ended the same way. Using the switch on the wall also opened the cage door, which unsurprisingly resulted in the ape using me “like a rubber ball, throwing me to and fro about the room.” I figured I must need an item to subdue or keep at bay the ape, and moved on.


In the top right corner of the room there was a file cabinet, some rat cages, a cigarette, a camera, and some broken glass. I opened a drawer in the file cabinet (I assumed I used the file cabinet key that I found under the lamp to open it, but the game made no mention of it) and inside was an “invoice dated two days before Cal Davis died. Precious Metal Inc. Galium arsenide bar...2000 dollars.” Inside the rat cages was a slot screwdriver, which I happily picked up. Tex had mentioned that he could have switched off the magnetic fields securing the antique fruitcake back in Linsky’s apartment if only he’d had a slot screwdriver, so it appeared as though that cake was finally going to be mine! I picked up the cigarette that was sitting on the ground outside the cages, but wasn’t able to reach the camera or do anything with the broken glass. Meanwhile, the alarm was still going off, and the time was still ticking down.

Mwahahaha...the fruitcake will be mine!!!! All mine!!!!

There was one more section in the room to investigate, and that was the table in the bottom right corner. There I could check out the table itself, a drill, and a book. The table had six straps attached to it, but I wasn’t able to do anything with any of it. I was however able to turn the drill on and off, but that was about it. As I watched the drill piece spin round and round, it suddenly dawned on me that at some stage Carl Linsky may have been strapped to this table! Could this be where the surgery was performed on him that caused the small burr hole in the back of his skull! What did they do to him??? Picking up the book gave me an answer. It may even be THE answer! The book was titled “Control of Primate Behavior through Microchip Technology” and it had been written by none other than Cal Davis himself! Had Cal inserted a microchip into Carl Linsky’s head and caused him to kill himself? It sure would be cleaner that murdering him on the table in the lab! I looked at the book, but was informed that “no clues are gathered”.

I love it when torturous and illegal medical equipment come with instructions!

So, I’d completed my sweep of the room, yet the alarm was still going off, I had no passcard to the computer, I hadn’t recovered the small box from the creature, and I hadn’t managed to unlock either the drawer in the desk or the wall cabinet. I moved from section to section, trying to get, move, open, and turn on / off everything I could. Eventually I stumbled on something, which was that I could move the rat cages! This revealed a circuit box, which when opened revealed a switch and a key. Using the switch turned off the surveillance equipment, shutting the alarm off and stopping the time from ticking down. Now I wouldn’t have to restore all the time and could really take my time. I then picked up the key and made my way back to the top left corner of the room. I still wasn’t able to open the desk, but I could now open the wall cabinet. Inside were the Galium Arsenide bars that were listed on the invoice, which I was informed held a street value of $2000. It looked as though I’d discovered an item I could pawn for cash, but nothing that would help me solve my case.

Apparently the switch turned off the spellcheck too!

I swept the room again, but eventually had to admit defeat. Either I was outright missing something in the room, or I was going to need an item found elsewhere to solve anything further in Cal’s house. My biggest fear was that I’d picked up some sort of container without opening it, and therefore lost the chance to collect a certain required item inside (Ilmari suggested this is possible in the game). I resolved to move on, and checked my spreadsheet to find out what the next location would be. It was J. Saint Gideon’s house, so I hopped back in the speeder and made my way to NC 3891. It was clearly apparent on arrival that this guy was rich. Filthy stinking rich! His thirty room mansion in Beverly Hills looked more like a castle than a standard home. I was ushered into his den, where I found Mr. Gideon studying a chess board. Tex describes the man as ancient, and the image of him that appeared on the screen made me think that description was an understatement! I very much enjoyed one of the comments in the description though: “He must be a big wheel, because there’s a picture on the wall of him receiving an award from President Michael J. Fox.”

Could this be the Back to the Future reference you spoke of Ilmari?

Gideon answered all of my questions, but I can’t say I got anything out of him that seemed very important. He was particularly cranky about the fact that Frank Schimming forced him out of his own company, and seemed to want revenge one day. His background was interesting enough to mention: “Before I was in the business world, I was head of British intelligence. After that I founded Gideon and developed new ways of helping the government. Schimming sees Gideon as just a business. I looked at the company as an institution, protecting our way of life.” Finally, he mentioned that he’d “heard there is something unusual going on at MTC. If there is, I’m sure Schimming is behind it. That man is dangerous.” All interesting stuff, but I received no leads from Gideon, so I therefore turned to my spreadsheet to find out who I should visit next. It looks like the reporter, Wanda Peck, is my next target. She seems to be the person to see to get the scoop on Robert Knott and Law and Order in general. Onwards we go!

Dementia can hit at the least opportune times!

Session Time: 1 hours 15 minutes
Total Time: 6 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!

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 fiancĂ©, 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!

Friday, 26 April 2013

What's Your Story? - ClintRVA

I'm really not sure whether I've ever mentioned it on the blog (I've certainly thought about doing so a few times), but I always change my laptop wallpaper to match the current game that I'm playing. I find it really helps to get me in the mood for playing, not to mention that it acts as a general reminder that I need to get on with it (a blog with no posts isn't going to build a community). I try to find the highest resolution image I can for each game so that my desktop doesn't look like a bunch of random colourful pixels. I quickly realised that every time I was searching for a high resolution Sierra adventure game wallpaper, I'd end up at one particular site. That site was http://www.sierrawallpaper.com!

The above-mentioned site doesn't just contain a title screen wallpaper for each Sierra game though. It actually acts as a screenshot walk-through, with meticulously captured screenshots running from the very beginning of every game right through to the end. Obviously such a site is dangerous for me to hang around, as it contains a visual solution for all the games I want to discover for myself, but as a source of Sierra related images and a nostalgic trip to childhoods all over the world, it's perfect! Why do I mention all this? Because I recently received a What's Your Story response from the site's owner Clint! Not satisfied with his admittedly insightful and intelligent responses, I asked him if he had the time for a few more interview style questions. He generously accepted, and the result of all of this can be found below.

ClintRVA: A cool guy who I'm sure will have lots to contribute when we reach Space Quest III.

My home country is… The United States, and more specifically, I'm in Virginia, where we were once known for tobacco, Thomas Jefferson, and Pocahontas, and where we're now known for... well, those same three things.

My age is… Thirty

The first adventure game I played was… King's Quest IV: The Perils of Rosella. When my dad bought our first computer (an 8 MHz Packard Bell), it had just come out, and the salesman talked him into getting it. Man, do I owe that guy. I mostly watched my parents play it, but I was mesmerized. They kept falling down the twisty staircase in the haunted house (you know, the one that leads up to the organ?), so Dad went out and bought a genuine Microsoft two-button mouse for some obscene sum of money. Oh yeah, and while he was doing that, ANOTHER salesman talked him into buying a Creative SoundBlaster. So we learn two things: first, my early computer technology was pretty advanced for the time, and two, my dad is a sucker for advanced technology.

Never fear! I punished the game for your parents' (and my own) frustration caused by these damn stairs.

When I’m not playing games I like to… Listen to music, watch movies, and hang out with my family. I see a lot of live shows -- or, I should say, I used to, before my two kids came along. I've attended well over 100 concerts, almost all of which are painstakingly catalogued here.

I like my games in (a box, digital format)… Every sort of way. My box collection is small at the moment because the large collection I once owned was trashed in some massive houseclean years ago. But I have all of my old favorites digitally, ready to play whenever I want to fire up DOSBOX.

My favourite adventure game is… Police Quest II: The Vengeance. I've played it countless times -- I love the story, I love the characters, and I especially love the music. I bought a Roland MT-32 on eBay last year and it was an incredible treat to finally experience that game the way it was meant to be played. I really dig the entire Police Quest series (which, of course, consists of 1-3... Jim Walls IS Police Quest). While there aren't many who would call it their favorite "Quest" series, it's definitely mine.

It may not top the leaderboard, but I was pleasantly surprised by Police Quest II.

The thing I miss about old games is… It's a tie between the restricted color palette and the MIDI music. Obviously both are largely for nostalgic reasons, but I do feel there was a high level of artistic talent required in making beautiful scenes out of 16 or even 256 colors. Musically, I absolutely love the synthy sounds of the "greats" from that bygone era: Ken Allen, Mark Seibert, Clint Bajakian, et al. I'm especially looking forward to hearing Ken's new Kickstarter CD.

The best thing about modern games is… The fact that adventure gaming is coming back! These recent Kickstarter pushes, spurned by the recent success that Telltale and others have had, are such a blast to support and follow. A true renaissance, it seems.

The one TV show I never miss is… Mad Men and Justified are the only ones I follow religiously. But they're both REALLY good.

If the show is as cool as this image, I want to see it!

If I could see any band live it would be… The Smiths. "I know it's over..."

My favourite movie is… Unforgiven. I was named for Clint Eastwood... and there will never be a better cowboy.

One interesting thing about me is… If you're still reading, please swing by Sierra Wallpaper at www.sierrawallpaper.com and see if there's anything there for you. (I'm guessing there will be!) Brandon Klassen of The Art of Sierra helped me pull together a fantastic website dedicated to showcasing the beautiful vistas that the Sierra On-Line artists created. I try to post a new game each month, and am very actively doing so. Thanks for visiting, and come like us on Facebook to stay up to date!

Nicely retro!


The Trickster: What made you decide to create the site? Has it turned into something different to what you originally intended?

Clint: It all started when I discovered that DOSBOX could take screenshots. I was playing through my favorite Sierra On-Line title (Space Quest III -- I'm sure I'm not the only one who pins the blue ribbon on that perfect game!) and began capturing every scene, thinking that I'd make a SQ3 screensaver. But that wasn't really good enough, because I had to leave the room and come back to enjoy it. So why not make them my desktop, and switch them out every hour? Bingo! As I finished SQ3, I moved to replay another oldie, and the same thing happened. The website was born not long after, as I want to share these with the great fan community around the world who cherishes these games as much as I do.

Sierra Wallpaper has actually turned into more than I intended, thanks to the gentleman who brought it to the next level: Brandon Klassen, of the Art of Sierra and the Sierra Archives.

There are 29 fully captured games up already. I wonder how many Sierra adventure games there are?

The Trickster: What was Brandon’s involvement and can you tell us anything about the goals of The Art of Sierra / The Sierra Archives?

Clint: Brandon reached out to me sometime last year and offered to form a partnership between our efforts -- and it's been tremendous. Brandon offered SW a content management platform that makes it extremely easy to upload screenshots and get them out to my adoring public. <grin>

While I won't speak to his ultimate goals, I'd say that Brandon's affection for Sierra is rivalled only by his passion for archival. One thing that was really important to both of us was that the high-resolution wallpapers offered on SW be of the highest quality possible without reaching into impracticality (huge bitmap files), and that's something you don't often see on other sites.

This is what I found to be immensely impressive. I still have no idea how you do it.

The Trickster: Have you played all the games previously and are now just chronicling them, or are you experiencing some of them for the first time? Do you have a no walkthrough policy?

Clint: I was born in '82, putting me at prime adventure-gaming age right in the middle of Sierra's greatest period. I played almost every game they made, making sure I got my hands on as many as possible. Most of them we owned, thanks to Santa Claus and the Babbage's at Valley View Mall, but some of them I borrowed from friends' older brothers (the Leisure Suit Larry series... sorry, Mom!) or downloaded, once the internet came around. For the purposes of SW, and since I've played them all before, I always use walkthroughs -- I try to post the screenshots as linearly as possible, and the walkthrough helps ensure completeness in the solution of puzzles, dialogue, Easter eggs, etc.

To Clint's Mom: This is what Clint was up to! (We all were if that makes it better)

The Trickster: I notice you haven’t attempted to capture every possible pathway or death in each game. Is that something you’d like to do, or is capturing a successful play through enough?

Clint: I considered capturing death sequences, and even tried getting a few, but they aren't all that interesting without animation. The goal of having the still image is primarily to capture both the environment of the scene and the artistic command of Sierra's creative team. I do capture a second shot with action, or even dialogue, if I feel it will enhance the experience for the viewer. Here's a good example.

I'm afraid you'll have to wait until I complete a lengthy list of other games my lady!

The Trickster: Do you receive much in the way of feedback from visitors? Have any of their uses for the images surprised you?

Clint: The occasional thank you comes through our Facebook page, but mostly people come by, download, and leave -- and that's perfectly fine with me. I'm not on a quest for glory (ED: I see what you did there and I give you 40 Sierra points for it).

Replay Games has occasionally posted a screenshot on their FB feed to generate discussion and goodwill with their fanbase. That's about all I've seen, though I'm sure the images are being used elsewhere. Again, I have no problem with that... I don't own them to begin with!

Comments: Make it all worthwhile

If anyone else wants to send their What's Your Story responses through and get 20 CAPs in the process, please send them to theadventuregamer@gmail.com.

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Game 31: Mean Streets - A Room With a Clue

Tex Murphy Journal Entry 3: “I’ve made some decent progress today, questioning John Richards at his office and then coming across a goldmine of information in the warehouse that Linsky had been leasing. John was helpful enough to give me a copy of Linsky's autopsy, which revealed an anomaly that might turn out to be something important. In the warehouse I was able to gather the names of a bunch of scientists that may or may not have been involved in this Overlord project that Linsky was working on, and cracking into his computer and reading all his notes has revealed the moral dilemma that the professor was dealing with prior to his death. I have a lot of leads to follow up on now and while I imagine some of them will lead to dead ends, I’m confident at least one of them will give me a better idea what's really going on.”

That's two games I've played where the future San Francisco skyline is bright red.

I was really coming to grips with Mean Streets by the end of my second session, having organised all my leads into a spreadsheet and figured out that collecting navigation codes was what the game was really all about. I therefore entered my third session very eager to get on with questioning more people and hopefully finding a location or two that I could comb for clues. As I’d decided that my tactic to avoid lengthy speeder trips was to visit locations based on NC proximity, I checked to see which of my leads had a code close to Bash Dagot’s (4657). I’d already visited Carl Linsky’s apartment (4660) and the University (4663), so that made John Richards my next target (4670). He was the medical examiner that I was supposed to have already visited before coaxing information out of Bash, but better late than never I say! I hopped in my speeder and quickly made my way to the Medical Examiner’s Office. Once again it was only a couple of miles away, giving me the impression that my navigation code theory could very well be correct.

Um...John...you wanna wash your hands? I got time!

John Richards stood before me with what appeared to be blood all over his hands. It seems that general hygiene goes backwards in the next couple of decades! I began questioning him on all the names I had, including the ones I’d recently added to the list. When asked about Carl Linsky, he had the following to say: “Nothing odd about this one. He jumped off the Bridge, massive shock when he hit, lungs filled with water, dead as a rock. I’ll send you a copy of the Autopsy report.” I really didn’t get much else of interest out of him and since he didn’t appear to be hiding anything, I left his office. As soon as I appeared back in the speeder, the autopsy arrived in the fax. “External Examination: Body is cool to the touch with fixed vigor in the extremities. Neck head brain: A small burr hole in the skull indicates recent surgery. Structure at base of brain intact. Neck shows massive damage to spinal cord caused by severe impact. Internal Examination: The pulmonary system is purple and shows a large amount of blood and frothy fluid in the chest and stomach. Remarks: Death caused by massive shock and drowning. Time of death estimated at between 10:00 PM and 11:30 PM September 20.”

No-one thought that a surgically created hole in the skull might be worth checking out?

The small burr hole in the skull was an interesting development, particularly as Carl was clearly struggling with his mental faculties when he died. Perhaps someone messed with his brain? I guessed that I would find out eventually. With an NC of 4675, the Bridgeview Warehouse was my next destination, for which I’d discovered a lease in Carl’s apartment. On arrival I faced another shootout with gang members, which was no different to the first one I fought. Once I crossed the obligatory two screens with strength intact, I received a detailed description of the warehouse, and was informed that I entered a “small area closed off from the rest of the building”. At this point I watched Tex walk into a storage area and realised it was time for another room investigation. I began at the back left corner, where I came across a large black floor safe for which I didn’t have a key. There was a box on top of the crates that was apparently partly open, but I was told that I would need a ladder to reach it. I didn’t have one of those, so I moved onto another part of the room.

The background may have changed, but the shootout was identical.

There was quite a bit to look at on the desk in the centre of the room, and I started with the newspaper. There was a circle around an article describing the death of noted scientist Cal Davis, who apparently died in an accident in his lab. I wrote the name Cal Davis into my spreadsheet, and moved onto the desk itself. I uncovered a message in the fax machine which read: “Professor, they’re on to you. I suggest you disappear fast.” The name at the bottom of the fax message was Sonny Fletcher. I’d seen the initials S.F. previously on the papers containing encoded Nexus passwords in Carl’s apartment, so clearly that was written by Sonny also. Another name for the spreadsheet! It seemed I was going to be calling on Vanessa and Lee for nav codes again soon enough! I tried to operate the computer on the desk but was informed that it wouldn’t operate without a passcard, and the printer seemed useless also.

The Warehouse: Get comfortable. We'll be here a while!

I made my way to the back wall, where there was another desk next to a file cabinet. In the desk drawer I discovered a gold pocket watch with a street value of $600. I guessed that items like this one and the fruitcake I saw in Carl’s apartment were for selling purposes rather than to solve puzzles, but would hold onto it for a while to make sure. In the check ledger I found a deposit from MTC Corporation and a check to Sonny Fletcher, Private Investigator. So Sonny was also a detective! I then opened up a cabinet and discovered a half full bottle of Pepto Bismol (which Google tells me is medicine for an upset stomach), a can of band-aids, and some radiation pills. Interestingly, when I picked up the band-aids, the message stated “You get the can of assorted band-aids that contained a Nexus passcard.” Huh!? I had no way of viewing my inventory while not in the speeder, so had no idea whether or not I was supposed to get the card out of the can prior to picking it up. I hoped for the best and continued my search.

Our hero remains optimistic to the very end!

October the 3rd was circled on the calendar on the back wall, and the word “Doomsday” was written above it. Doomsday? Interesting! When I opened the file cabinet, a message popped up saying: “Using the key found at Linsky’s home, you open the file cabinet drawer.” It seemed Mean Streets was going to apply items to puzzles without any need for me to use my brain. At least it informed me of the key’s use in this instance! In the drawer I came across a list of scientists “that may be working on Overlord.” Their names were 1 – John Klauss, 2 – Maurice Gribble and 3 – David Pope. That’s three more names on the list of leads for which I was going to need nav codes. With another section of the room completed, I walked over to the fork lift and began searching there. Along with the fork lift itself, there was a rat trap along with yet more crates. I swear there are more crates in this game than Half-Life!

Well, then I may or may not bother tracking them down!

I picked up the rat trap, and then looked at the crates. One of them had “an uneven hole near the floor”, so I opened it. “You reach inside the hole to open it further, and a large black rat grabs hold of your finger. You shake it furiously and it finally lets go. When you pull your hand out, a small chunk of your forefinger is missing.” Well that sucks! Was I supposed to use the rat trap on the crate first? Given there’s no way to actually apply items in the game, I couldn’t think of a way that I might have done that had I thought to. Merely opening the crate would have been enough if that were the case surely. Should I restore? Would the bite fester and eventually kill me? The only place that I’ve been able to save my game is in the speeder, so I would have to restore to back outside the warehouse and go through the shootout and entire investigation again. I decided to ignore the bite and hope it was just inserted for dramatic effect. There was nothing to do with the fork lift, so I moved onto the odd looking machine on the right hand side of the room.

Is the sequel called Mean Streets 2: The Search For the Missing chuck of Forefinger?

The large machine was called an Alpha-Wave Processor, although once again I didn’t appear to be able to do anything with it. The crates next to it held 100 rounds of ammunition though, so I happily picked them up. The last section of the room (near the entrance) contained even more crates, a step ladder, and a storage shelf. Within the crates I found 3-1 oil and the key to the safe, both of which I picked up. I then grabbed the step ladder as well and then opened the storage shelf. Inside was a small piece of masking tape with the word “blue-bishop” on it. So just as at Carl Linsky’s apartment, within the warehouse I’d come across a bunch of puzzles that required missing items, only to discover exactly what I needed mere metres away. So far the adventure elements of Mean Streets have been a little on the easy side to say the least! Hopefully there are some more difficult challenges to come!


I took the safe key back over to the floor safe and opened it, revealing Carl Linsky’s life insurance policy from The Transamerica Insurance Company. The beneficiary was of course his daughter Sylvia and the value one million dollars. I was then able to use the step ladder that I’d just found on the other side of the room to get to the half opened box on the top of the crates. Inside I found an antique lamp with a street value of $1500. Another item to pawn for cash! Right, the only thing left to do in the warehouse was to see if I could get into the computer system. I walked over to it and tried to turn it on again. This time Tex swiped the passcard I'd found in the band-aid can through the slot at the bottom of the monitor, at which point I was asked to enter the “Blue Password”. The password was pretty frickin obvious after finding the tape with the words “blue-bishop” on it. I entered the word “bishop” and gained access! I’ll insert all the project notes that I discovered in the computer below, instead of reciting them word for word.


This last screen describes a few adventure games I've played!

By now it was very clear that Carl had wanted out of Overlord, and was concerned that he would be eliminated once his part in the project was complete. I left the warehouse at this point, and immediately gave all the new leads’ names to Vanessa (Cal Davis, Sonny Fletcher, David Pope, John Klaus and Maurice Gribble). She was able to send me information on three of the five, meaning I would need to turn to Lee Chin for the remaining two. She faxed me a news article regarding Cal Davis’ death which described how he accidentally ingested cyanide while conducting an experiment in his Santa Barbara home. The article revealed three useful pieces of information. Firstly, Cal Davis’ NC is 3720. Secondly, the police detective on the case was Smiley Monroe who can be found at NC 3614. Finally, the close friend of Cal’s that discovered his body was named Aaron Sternwood. Man, every lead seemed to be leading to numerous others! I was feeling pretty fortunate to have started my spreadsheet.

So you're sure that Cal never drank cyanide before Mr Sternwood? Are you absolutely sure!?

Two more faxes came in from Vanessa. The first one informed me that David Pope lives in Eureka at NC 6211 and the second one that Maurice Gribble lives in Palm Springs at NC 8231. I then called up Vanessa again to ask about Aaron Sternwood, only to receive a fax telling me to talk to Smiley Monroe. I figured I'd try to collect the whole set of NC's and called Lee Chin to ask her about Sonny Fletcher and John Klaus, whom Vanessa hadn’t been able to tell me anything about. It took a $600 bribe to get her to tell me that I should “Talk to Delores Lightbody. She may know where to find John Klaus. They were lovers once.” It then took a whopping $1000 to convince her to inform me that “Sonny Fletcher stays at some run-down apartment in L.A.. Try NC 5170.”

Smiley Monroe is a man? Surely you'd change your name once you realised you wanted to be a cop!

This post has been of typical length for me, but all I’ve managed to cover is my questioning of John Richards and my investigation at the warehouse (along with the subsequent attempts to track down all the leads I’d uncovered there). Still, I’m determined to stick to the same level of detail that I’ve held for the past dozen or so games on the blog. I guess there are just going to be some games where this level of detail is going to drag things out, for which I apologise. I’m really hoping Mean Streets opens up a bit more; otherwise I could be doing this for about fifteen more posts, depending on how long the game is. Every room has dozens of clues and leads to sift through, yet the majority of them have been used to solve puzzles within the room itself rather than at other locations. There’s an implied level of complexity, but in reality everything has been surprisingly simplistic so far. I’m still very keen to push on though, so hopefully that's a feeling that remains right through to the game's completion.

It looks like Police Detective Steve Clements will be my next destination!

Session Time: 0 hours 45 minutes
Total Time: 3 hours 15 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!

Monday, 22 April 2013

Game 31: Mean Streets - A Little Help From My Friends

Tex Murphy Journal Entry 2: “It appears this case is not as simple as talking to a few leads and convincing myself (and Sylvia) that Carl did indeed commit suicide. There’s something more going on, and every path I take seems to set me on another. I spent some time questioning Carl’s girlfriend Sandra, and while she didn’t reveal anything that would blow the case wide open, meeting her at least explained why the professor ended his relationship with Delores Lightbody. Tracking down Bash Dagot, who I was informed knew where I could find Blaze Wiener, proved more difficult, and I was forced to resort to shooting gang members in a bad part of town. I got what I needed out of Bash, although he now resembles a past tense form of his name. I’ll do what it takes to solve this case. I’m in for the long haul!”

Also known as: Restore Button

My first session ended with me getting put in jail for breaking and entering into the San Francisco University. This had occurred due to my own incompetence, setting off an alarm that I knew was there, and then not being able to switch it off in the five minutes it took for the cops to arrive. My second session began with me restoring and heading back to the university for further investigation. My interrupted sweep had revealed a note on the coffee table along with a chess set that was missing one of the bishops and a key on the chair that appeared to be for the drawer in the desk next to it. This time I began my search near the front door, revealing a fax in the fax machine that said, “Dear Professor, looking forward to our date Saturday. Love, Sandra Larsen." That was a name I hadn’t heard previously! The manual had made quite a few recommendations about recording every new name I come across along with their relationship to others and Nav Code if possible. I opened up an Excel spreadsheet and began a list of everyone I knew about.

An horrifying alternate future where text messages were never created!

Sylvia had told me that her father was about to get married to Delores Lightbody, so this fax was quite interesting. I moved onto the bar area, where I discovered some papers hidden in a shoe box in the bar. “Professor, I got the possible Nexus passwords to be decoded: isbpho, ueqne, lasentolw, nodgar, gnop, nikg, oork, napw, ehcetmack, bmgtai, etsaelmat, slctae, niktgh, clbak, tewih. I’ll be in touch – S.F.” I had no names that fit those initials, so I added the papers to my inventory for later thought. It was at this point that I realised I had no way to view my inventory while inside. I could press “I” while in the speeder to look over it, but not anywhere else. No doubt that would be annoying at some point. I also picked up a bottle of whiskey from the bar, before moving on. I collected the note from the coffee table and the key from the chair, just as I’d done during my first session, and made sure I didn’t set off the alarm on the cabinet in the process.

I went to jail trying to steal a fruitcake!?

In the trashcan next to the desk I found a lease for a space in Bridgeview Warehouse that was rented to Carl Linsky 10 months ago. It gave me an NC too (4675), so I entered that into my spreadsheet to visit later. Also in the trashcan was a note from Carl to Delores: “Delores, I’m calling our relationship off. It has nothing to do with Sandra Larsen. I just know there are other whales in the sea and I...” Whales in the sea??? I’m pretty sure that wouldn’t go down well with any woman. Anyway, this proved that Carl was at least planning to break up with Delores when he died. Perhaps the fact it was in the trashcan shows that he’d had second thoughts??? I turned my attention to the desk, where I opened the drawer and looked inside. I can only assume that I used the desk key I’d found on the chair to open the drawer, but the game provided no information to suggest one way or the other. Inside I found a 2 inch digital audio tape (clearly meant for the tape player nearby) and an advanced psychology course grade sheet. One student, Blaze Wiener, was circled on the sheet, so I added his name to the spreadsheet.

An E!? Blaze must be a criminal!

I put the tape I’d just found into the tape player and heard (as in audibly heard) someone screaming “THEY’RE IN MY HEAD, THEY’RE IN MY HEAD!” If that was the voice of Carl Linsky before he died, then he was a very disturbed man indeed. Next I turned my attention to a cabinet on the back wall of the room, where I uncovered a key and a psychology textbook written by none other than the professor himself. A page was marked within the book, and closer inspection revealed a safe combination. Above the cabinet was a painting, and when I moved it, I found the safe that the combination was presumably for. It was, and inside I found $1000 in cash! I had to wonder whether it was very ethical to steal money from the recently deceased, but figured it wouldn’t be there if I wasn’t supposed to do something with it. Either that or I was about to set off another alarm and pay another visit to the station. I was able to collect it, so assumed it was all good! Besides, I need some bribery money!

What better place to leave the combination than right next to the safe

With nothing else to investigate in Carl’s apartment, I left. Back in my speeder, I took a look through my inventory and considered all that I’d just uncovered. I had a couple of names in my spreadsheet, but didn’t have any navigation codes for either of them. I could always visit another one of the leads that the manual suggested, but I decided to try out contacting my secretary Vanessa and my informant Lee Chin. Pressing V brought up a video screen, where a nice looking young redhead smiled at me and asked me what she could do for me (audibly and visually). I was then staring at a cursor next to the words “Find out about...”, wondering what I actually wanted to know. I typed in Sandra Larsen, to which Vanessa replied “I’ll check it out”. Nothing happened though, so I tried Blaze Wiener. “There’s nothing in our files.” I then started typing all the names I knew, including Carl and Sylvia Linsky, to which Vanessa continually replied with “I’ll check it out.” I exited the video screen, wondering when or if I might get any sort of result for my efforts.

Vanessa my secretary. Very helpful!

Moments later I received a fax from Vanessa telling me that “Sandra Larsen’s San Francisco address is NC 4599”. I then received the addresses for the other people I’d entered, although I already had those. Now this was pretty cool! After spending the majority of my time trying to solve mysteries and save worlds by myself, I was going to have some backup in Mean Streets! Some cute backup too! I entered Sandra’s NC into my spreadsheet and pressed L for Lee Chin. Apparently Lee Chin is my informant, so perhaps she could give me some information on Blaze Wiener. Lee was less friendly than Vanessa, and my request for information on Blaze was met with a stern “what’s it worth?” So Lee was an informant, as long as I was willing to pay for the information. I could see that I had $11000 in my possession, so I offered her $100 for the information. “No deal!” $200? “It’s a deal!” When I exited the video screen, I received a fax saying “Talk to Bash Dagot if you want to find Blaze. My sources say they’re good friends.”

Lee Chin my informant. Also very helpful, for a price!

Lee didn’t tell me where I could find Bash Dagot though, so I tried my luck with Vanessa. “Bash Dagot lives near the mission district. Try NC 4657.” Very quickly I was filling my spreadsheet with locations to visit, so I was going to have to choose somewhere to go next. It made sense to go and see one of the leads in the manual before approaching the newer ones, but I was pretty keen to talk to this Sandra Larsen chick. The game appeared to be quite open, allowing me to visit whoever I wanted whenever I wanted. I entered 4599 into my navigation console and followed the onscreen coordinates to Sandra’s location. That location turned out to be a fairly seedy part of town, and Sandra herself was in a local pub, smoking a cigarette. Tex was clearly impressed! “She’s an extremely attractive woman in her late 20’s. I can see why Linsky started to date her.” I began to systematically question her on all the topics and names I knew.

So...do you come here often?

She had nothing to say on the majority of them, but I did get some background information about Delores Lightbody out of her. “Delores was Carl Linsky’s girlfriend, but he had grown tired of her. Carl started dating me, and said he was going to call their engagement off. Carl was worried about telling her because she had quite a temper.” Sandra also responded to my questioning about MTC Corp.: “It’s supposed to be a Management Training Center for employees of Gideon, but I suspect there’s more to it than that. They’ve hired a number of top scientists. I don’t know what they’ve been doing, but I’m sure they’re not management consultants.” Finally, my question about Law and Order got the following out of her: “I’ve seen some of those arrogant thugs around the office. They’re involved with a project at MTC, that’s for sure.” So it seems that Law and Order is some form of organisation, which I hadn’t realised before.

And I suppose you're the epitome of angelic innocence?

I didn’t feel it was pertinent to bribe or threaten Sandra, so I decided to move onto the next destination. It was at this point that I thought I’d test a theory. If these navigation codes worked anything like postcodes, the closer together the numbers are the closer together the locations would actually be. Given how long I had to wait while Tex flew the speeder between locations, I thought it was worth a try. I sorted my lead list by navigation code and found that Bash Dagot (4657) was closest to my current location (4599). Entering 4657 into my console revealed that indeed Bash was only a few miles away, so I headed straight over there. I was in for a bit of a surprise on arrival! As soon as I exited my speeder, I found myself in a side view arcade style shootout! Hordes of “baddies” were piling in from the right side of screen and firing shots at me. I had my gun out, but all I could think to do was to duck as the bullets flew overhead. Unfortunately shooting while ducking only resulted in my bullets wedging in the crates I was hiding behind, so I was going to have to stand up and face the music before these dudes reached me.

I killed over 20 guys just to get to Bash. It better be worth it!

It took me a couple of deaths to figure out the best way of approaching the shootout, and that was to duck all the bullets, stand up in the short breaks and fire as many bullets as possible, then duck while they all made contact with the gangsters. While those men went down and others were starting to come onto screen, I would walk as far to the right as possible before the inevitable flow of bullets would start up again. After a couple of screens of tense battle, I made it through to Bash’s rough neighbourhood. Interestingly, during the arrival screen, part of the message was “I find a suitable place to wait. I’m hoping to see the guy who witnessed Linsky’s suicide. Clements showed me a mug shot of Dagot, whom he described as the ultimate low life scum bag.” Considering I haven’t even met Clements yet, and didn’t realise there was a witness to Carl’s death, this was all news to me. It appears that by not visiting the first five leads before tracking down Bash I’d kind of broken the game. Mean Streets may not be as “open” as I’d first thought!

Clements? I've never even met the guy!

I questioned Bash, who was a serious lowlife! If the name didn’t give it away, the decrepit state of his clothes sure did. He seemed completely unwilling to give me any information too, although he hinted that he might assist with information about Blaze Wiener if I paid him. It took $250, but he eventually told me that “Blaze is a groundkeeper for the Giants at Candlestick Park. Use NC 1715.” Great, I had what I needed! I couldn’t help but notice though that Bash would say he couldn’t tell me anything about most topics, but questions regarding Carl Linsky were met with “Stick it, fish face!” I decided it was time to make use of Threaten, and smiled as Tex threw a punch at the camera, apparently catching Bash on “the chin with a solid haymaker that sends him staggering back against the wall.” He was then more forthcoming! “Yea, I saw the old grizzer jump, but the whole incident was outrageously bizzaro. The old geek walks by like Dawn of the Dead. Then when he was about 30 feet past me, he climbs over the barrier and nose dives into the bay. The amped old buzzard didn’t even hesitate.”

I'm not sure I should trust anything this guy says.

Am I enjoying Mean Streets? Yes, I really am! Although I’m not entirely sure why! It’s not difficult to pick apart the game’s flaws, and it does look as though the whole aim of the game is to “collect” navigation codes and follow them, hoping to receive another one. I guess the ultimate satisfaction will come down to the story that I’m unravelling as I go, as the game mechanics might become old pretty quickly, even with the true adventure investigation, speeder and shootout sections to switch between. I’m thinking that the game will appeal more to someone like me that actually enjoys systematically crossing things off lists. For some reason I find the process comforting! Enough analysis though. There’s plenty of Mean Streets left to play, so I’m off to get to it.

Tex Murphy...now in 3D!

Session Time: 1 hours 00 minutes
Total Time: 2 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!