Sunday, 27 May 2018

B.A.T. II - All Roads Lead to Roma

By Ilmari

Last time I had got the mission to check out the major deed holders of echiatone industry, but before that I wanted to take a tour of the town. I had just doubled my capital and I was convinced I had plenty to go with. I had 20 000 credits and one trip through the local “subway” would cost 300 credits - I could do plenty of journeys with my money.

Well, I boarded the express-via and it wasn’t really a subway.


I am flying through tunnels alone in this shuttle

After choosing my destination, I got to decide whether to use the express-via automatically or manually. Just for curiosity, I tried to do it manually. I did manage to get somewhere, but I had bumbed too many fellow drivers and had to pay extra 700 credits for it. I reloaded and did the same trip with autopilot. It turned out to mean automatic addition of 700 credits to the cost of one trip.


Isn’t this covered by insurance?

Touring Roma

Now that I had money enough for just twenty trips, I decided to use the save/load-feature freely in my explorations. That is, I would drive to one terminus (like a subway station), check my surroundings and restore. Occasionally in my travels I was stopped by the local police force asking me for a pass.


Officially they are cataphractaires, but since that’s a mouthful, they are known simply as slingers
Different sectors of the city required different passports. I had been given one by Sylvia and a travel agent in tourist sector sold some more. The city was divided into six sectors, but since I covered tourist sector (with the terminus Astroport) in the previous post, I’ll skip it now.

North sector, terminus TA1




The main attraction of this sector are Canopea Gardens.


There’s just nothing to do here

There were also many specialised places of commerce: a market, optician, a gun shop and a drugstore.


I could order myself some lenses, but am I nearsighted or farsighted?

The final interesting thing was the bar Peristyle. Well, otherwise the bar was pretty unremarkable, but it had a backroom with three suspicious characters selling something called a memory tablet.


Would you purchase a used car from these guys?

Ashan sector, terminus TA and TA2




Ashan was the original Shedish capital of the planet, around which Roma was built. The wall you can see in the picture was constructed during the Shedishan civil war, which occurred soon after the humans or “Romans” occupied the planet. At first, both species lived peacefully, when the human settlement was ruled by Zigor Kyle, the billionaire who had funded the expedition to Shedishan. Then Kyle was assassinated by Anga the Treacherous, a dictator who introduced the Roman style culture to the humans of Shedishan. The wall was meant to close off Ashan from Roma, and the civil war continued until Anga died.

Ashan appears still to have mostly Shedish population, as there is even a Shedish bar in there. It would be otherwise rather uninteresting place, but there is one building that intrigues me.


Question mark means that I lack some equipment to get in that building.
Apparently I need to get on that balcony for some reason

South sector, terminus TE2, TA3 and TF 1




This is where the prison of Roma is situated. It is no surprise that I cannot visit it. More surprisingly, I can’t get to watch the prisoners fight for their lives in the public gladiator arena. In fact, the only thing I could do in this sector was to buy some pizza.

Industrial sector, terminus TC, TC1 and TD




I probably wasn’t meant to do exploration, since in this sector I hit some plot points in advance. It all begun when I entered a factory.



When I looked at the body, I found out he was someone called Izae Bogli, whose safe was broken and deeds were taken. I had no idea who Mr. Bogli was, but I did know I was meant to get all the deeds I could. And now someone had got ahead of me.

When I went back to the streets, I was attacked by two thugs. It was time to get to know the fighting system of the game.



The screen you see at the center of the picture shows only a part of the fighting area, but it’s still not big. I could see two outlines of persons moving around, hiding occasionally in the building and shooting me. With some effort I managed to kill one of the muggers. The other one wasn’t as dangerous, because he wasn’t really shooting me, but just walked around the screen. I probably could have killed him easily, but I was unprepared and I had already used all my bullets for the first crook. With no other possibility, I just had to run from the situation. I was curious about the events, so I returned to the street where the robbers had surprised me. Searching the place, I made a startling discovery: the two thugs had dropped their deeds while fighting me.


I’d thought they would have digitized these things in the future

What was the point in the whole shooting minigame? Could I have just escaped when the fighting started and still find the deeds at the same location? That just seems like a careless plotting.

City, terminus TE1, TB1, TB and TF


Notice the blatant self-advertising

City is the economic centre of Roma. Express via will only take you to the fringe of the City, and you must then buy a taxi, which will fly you to one of the five towers in the City: Carmenta, Vertumnus, Minerva, Koshan and Janus. The taxi drivers charged a reasonable price of 400 credits. I guess I could have flown myself to the towers, but since I had managed to screw with the manual driving in via express, I didn’t want to even attempt manual flying.

Koshan Tower




This is the headquarters of the infamous Koshan Company, which I am supposed to bring down. I can’t really do anything here. There is an intriguing door, but I still lack some item, with which to open it. I guess the door will eventually lead me to the climax of the game, but right now this is the dullest of the towers.

Janus Tower




This is the tower where the local upper class, praetors, like to hang around. The only interesting place I’ve found is a sauna. Nothing to see here yet, but I guess I should try to find some praetor here at some point.


Or maybe it’s more like dressing room

Minerva Tower




In reality, I left this tower the last, since I wanted to finish my exploration before continuing with the plot of the game. It turned out I had to instantly visit two of the other towers (Carmenta and Vertumnus), so I’ll postpone their descriptions.

The main attraction of the place was Automatic Information Center, linked to Hearth, the central computer of Shedishan, tended by women known as Vestals (note how the Roman theme continues). My colleague from B.A.T., Sylvia, had asked me to come here and check who owned the deeds for echiatone mining rights in Bedhin 6, a satellite of Shedishan. The listed owners were:
  • Koshan Inc: 200 deeds
  • Massiglia Bank: 50 deeds
  • Senator Jugh’Ahih: 10 deeds
  • Citizen Bogli Izae: 25 deeds
My task of getting a majority of the deeds seemed rather pointless now, since I could never hope to beat Koshan, even if I acquired all the other deeds, in addition to the 30 that Sylvia had originally. My only hope was to also find 215 deeds that were not listed.

I had already found the 25 deed of Bogli Izae, so my next task was to meet with Julius Massiglia, owner of Massiglia Bank, and Senator Jugh’Ahih.

Carmenta Tower





In Carmenta Tower I could find the headquarters of Massiglia Bank. Like all really important figures, Julius Massiglia could only be reached through his secretary.


No more appointments today? Well, I’ll just wait here until tomorrow.


That’s something like twelve hours from now. Oh well, if he doesn’t have
any better appointment times. You won’t mind me waiting here some more?

I finally got to meet Mr. Massiglia, who was just like any other chap on the streets of Roma, except he had some deeds in his inventory. I couldn’t try to steal them, but I did have the opportunity to buy them.

Except I’ll never have that much money in my hands

Vertumnus Tower




The last tower had a famous restaurant and a hotel, but the foremost reason for visiting it was that senator Jugh’Ahih lived there. Like with Julius Massiglia, I had to wait first for his secretary to give me an appointment and then for the appointment itself. This is a bit too much realism for my taste, and I praise the designer, who got the idea of adding the “wait for an hour” button to the game.

My eventual meeting with the senator was even more disappointing than the meeting with the banker. Jugh’Ahih didn’t even have any deeds on his person and the limited conversation system didn’t even allow me to ask him about them. So, again I had really nothing to show for my efforts.

With nothing else to do, I returned to the Tourist Sector and went to speak with Sylvia. She had the idea that I should try to rob the bank of Mr. Massiglia. Great, but how am I supposed to do that?

Session time: 4 hours, 15 minutes
Total time: 23 hours

Note Regarding Spoilers and Companion Assist Points: There’s a set of rules regarding spoilers and companion assist points. But this time I wouldn't mind a slight hint as to how the bank robbery should be started.

6 comments:

  1. The graphics, and game thematics, seem to be reminiscent of Druillet's comics (like the Lone Sloane ones), albeit less detailed (and less brilliant, but this was to be expected). Your screenshots still show that this game has a very interesting art direction, and above average pixel art to support it.

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    1. Interesting! I didn't know Druillet before this, but influence seems possible. I agree that the graphics are high standard.

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    2. More generally, the game designers, and especially the graphist, were certainly inspired by french BD magazine Metal Hurlant (Howling Metal), where lots of french sci-fi comics authors used to be published, including the absolute staple of the genre, l'Incal by Moebius and Jorodowski.
      See https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/M%C3%A9tal_hurlant

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    3. There's certainly something Moebius-like in the pictures. I guess that's just to be expected in a French scifi game.

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  2. I'm enjoying your description of this game! I had it as a kid, but I didn't get very far in the plot at all. But it strikes me that the game world feels much more real and organic than a traditional adventure game. Despite my lack of progress, I liked just wandering around. I'm curious to read about what the actual solution tothe game is.

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    1. Glad you are liking the posts! It is true that the setting is the best part of the game and I can well understand how mesmerising it is just to walk around the game world. I can also relate to your problems about getting forward in the plot, since it has been slow going for me also. I hope I'll be able to complete the game to satisfy your curiosity!

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