Monday 1 February 2016

Free D.C.! - Free For All

By Ilmari

Avery Zedd Journal #4: D.C. is saved from the clutches of evil robots! But I could not rest on my laurels and spend the rest of my life with my new lady friend, since I had a new foe to reckon with - a bigger and cuter and Frenchier! It was my solemn duty to destroy this new vermin from the face of the whole Earth. But wait, even they weren’t the real baddies, since something even bigger and comfier was out there! What was it? You’ll see if you join me in the next episode, Free Amazon!

You took the words right out of my mouth

Free D.C. has overstayed its welcome many times by now. My emotions have gone from “My God! Why does this thing still have to drag on and on! Let it stop already!” through brief “Finally, I am beginning to get somewhere!” to the final “That was it????? Did they hire some French person to invent the plot????”

When it was time to write down my thoughts, I had a nervous breakdown and almost decided to call it quits, although I was bombarded by my fellow reviewers with requests to do my duty. Reiko even came to personally convince me with mind tricks and gibberish, but I eventually became so panicked I had to run away. Regular commenters were guarding all the exit routes, since they had been promised six posts for this game, and they weren’t going to settle with four. Andy Panthro tried to approach me with a nasty looking umbrella, but I managed to avoid him and beat Alex and Aperama with gentle art of fisticuffs, when I stole their motor boat. Joe Pranevich was hot on my trail with a helicopter, but it was eventually TBD with his surveillance units that finally beat me into submission.

What, you don’t believe me? It’s all in the video!

Suffice to say, I am deeply happy to move on to a completely new game, which will be … let’s see… a French game Maupiti Island, a successor of Mortville Manor, which Trickster loved so greatly. I suspect my fellow reviewers might need another round of convincing me.

This is where we finished last time

The level of jokes just keeps getting better

...and better

At the end of the last post I really had no idea what to do next, and my plan was just to speak with the denizens of the Zoo and see if they would have anything new to tell. Mostly, they didn’t.

Avery, why are you so surprised? We’ve discovered that ourselves already!

One new bit of information I learned concerned the fence around the Zoo. By promising Binkley, the mad collector, that he could get Detectron into his museum after I had used it, I learned that the fence had a weak spot somewhere.

I can just see people lining up for this

Binkley also told me that the two clones, Memo and Candy, knew about the weak spot, since they lived quite close to it. Indeed, Memo told me that the weak spot, or even a gate for the Zoo, could be found in front of the Capitol building. This would be exactly the spot with all the super powerful Atomic Guards running around, so I most likely had to get the Detectron fixed, before I could even plan to infiltrate the place.

I would taste like chicken…

The other thing I kept doing in addition to interviewing my Zoo mates was scouring the jungle. And boy was it boring! It’s practically a big maze, with unclear exits and robots walking around - lucky I had learned to use all the weapons I’ve collected, since sometimes the stupid things block potential exits and I have to blast them out of existence before continuing. I think I must have gone through the whole thing for something like ten times - I don’t know if it’s just my incompetence at map making or if the game just randomly pops the required Detectron weapon somewhere after you’ve spend an eternity finding it.

Four hours of my life spent for this. Ending better be worth it!

That only left the Detectron servo. Luckily this was a lot easier. I had kept going to Johnnie, the woman at the Smithsonian Institute, since that appeared to be a place where some kind of plot progress was happening. Avery and Johnnie reminisced about the olden days before robots and Johnnie told her life story - romance was about to be born!

No wonder you and Avery go together like bread and butter

One thing both Avery and Johnnie missed was proper food - in Zoo humans got only pellets to eat. At one point they shared an imaginary dinner with caviar and champagne and then Johnnie popped the question.

Another Doctor who dances

After that, Johnnie was willing to part with her Detectron servo she had been holding on to. I had finally all the Detectron parts - or so I thought. Turns out, Detectron required still one crucial thing to work.

Glad that you are telling it now

From Riding a Robotic My Little Pony to Wearing a Transformers Suit

Doctor Valerion asked me to test the weapon of Detectron. Problem was that the Detectron brain had self-destructed and was not sending any signals from my brain to Detectron. Luckily one heavily hinted plot point was about to come up.

Pretty little robot, would you come over here…

Wattson was then integrated into the Detectron, and we were ready to bust some robotic ass! After moving couple of screens, a cutscene appeared. Turns out, robots and their mighty bad computer leader knew exactly that I was coming and they had a cunning plan.

Cliched plot development, number 35

If I had had any patience left, I would have liked to go and see whether the denizens of the Zoo reacted at all to my new outfit - now, I just wanted to get out of here. I did go to Smithsonian to see whether Johnnie would still be there, but the game had remembered to remove her from the building. With nothing else to do I moved to the eastern side of the Zoo. I thought it would be rather easy task to make my way to the eastern fence near Capitol and then just search the wall from south to north. Well, it wasn’t that easy, since at some places at the wall there was no way to move from south to north - the jungle between the screens was supposedly so heavy. I thus had to do the wall investigation in a rather roundabout way, moving back and forth as the passages allowed. At least the Atomic Guards circulating the area near the eastern fence were quite easy to deal with the Detectron weapon. Finally I then found what I had been looking for.

It doesn’t really look like a weak spot nor a gate, but just a hole.

My next target was then the Capitol, or as the manual calls it, Pointy-Headed Sit-Down Building. Robotic scholars had apparently been amazed why humans had wanted to build hundreds of rooms with nothing but rows of seating units - one theory was that it was the site of an endless variety of decadent human entertainments. Now the building housed robotic Keepers and their leader, the Interface controlling the Zoo.

The Capitol was as boring as rest of the buildings, with stray robots wandering around in empty rooms. At the end I found Johnnie, being held by a Keeper.

You’d think so… 

...except I have this fancy suit!

Always the romantic

Keeper was roasted, but that wasn’t the end yet. At the background, the evil Interface woke up and started the obligatory Bad Guy Speech.

Cliche # 57

After lot of talking, I was presented with three options:

I’ll pick up door number three

I know I shouldn’t have chosen “The Wild Finish”, but I just thought it couldn’t get any worse. The beginning seemed good enough. While Avery couldn’t decide what to do, Wattson took charge and shot the interface.

Now we are talking!

Avery was left wondering how to thaw the other humans, but then came a huge surprise

Giant French poodle???!!??

You gotta to be kidding me… And you might be?

Yes, of course. I am sorry I asked 

Avery, don’t make this any MORE absurd than it is already

Yes, the world was governed not by robots, but by giant French poodles. I began pondering my bad fate in choosing to play this game, but then I found out it was nothing compared to what Avery would have to suffer.

Deciding this was a fate worse than death, Avery ordered everyone to lock themselves in the Zoo. On our way back to Smithsonian Wattson calculated the odds for the future life of every person in the game. And of course there had to be a final twist.

Game, you are testing my tolerance...

Deciding this was too much for me, I decided not to try the two other endings. I probably have to do so soon, to see whether it will affect the rating. I am already dreading the thought.

Session time: 5 hours
Total time: 11 hours


  1. Comedy is certainly not easy, is it? Especially in adventure game form. Not long now, and you can cast this aside forever!

    1. And next I shall get to the really fun part, when I'll see how low the scores can go...

  2. Replies
    1. (I'd actually written something further up and had it cut off somehow. Ironically? I feel like this response worked better.)

    2. Denying the existence of the game? I think this ending is a similar classic as "getting yourself killed just to see Elvis in heaven".

  3. Congress in the Congress? That's pretty smooth, Avery.

  4. I did what!?

    *waves a hand* "This is definitely the game you're looking for."

    1. No, it's definitely not a game anyone is looking for... (And don't try to fool me with those old Jedi mind tricks!)

  5. I've been trying to clear this game myself, but I keep running to a bug(?) where the cutscene where Harry gives you the Detectron refuses to trigger. Maybe the problem is with Dosbox settings? You wouldn't be able to share a save with all detectron parts, would you?

    1. No, unfortunately not, I've already deleted the game out of my system.

      I don't even really know what event triggered the cutscene - it just happened at one point, when I was visiting Harry. Thus, I can't really say what could make you progress, especially if you have already tried talking with every other person in the zoo, before returning to Harry (the best way to make progress in the game, I found). I wouldn't at all be surprised, if you had encountered some sort of crazy bug... Have you found all the other parts of Detectron then?

  6. Yes, I even consulted a walkthrough and think I have done everything there is to do with everyone else. Usually it seems for everyone else that waiting around lets you talk to them again, but in Harry's case, he just stands there but nothing happens, no matter how long I wait. I even restarted the game once and could get the first cutscene (where he talks about the cones), but not the second one. I figured that it could be a timing quirk, or maybe there's some hidden trigger I'm missing... I have a DOS 7.0 machine lying around, maybe that will do the trick.

    Thanks anyway!

    1. In case anyone is wondering, using a Win98-machine, restarting the game again and trying to meet Harry as early and repeatedly as possible did the trick. No idea what really was the problem.

    2. Good to know you found a way to complete the game (even if the game itself isn't so good)!