Sunday, 3 June 2018

B.A.T.II - The Great Bank Robbery

By Ilmari

After fully exploring the city of Roma, I had found one quest - get the minority shareholders of echiatone mining in Bedhin 6 sell their deeds to you, so that you can kick the Koshan family out of the echiatone business. That quest failed, because the only person willing to sell his deeds, banker Julius Massiglia, asked an unreasonable price for them. My next quest then was to rob Massiglia bank, presumably to get enough money to pay for those deeds.

My contact, Sylvia Hadford, hadn’t really any plan how to rob the bank, so she just told me to ask people about the bank. That suggestion was plain nonsensical, since everyone I could ask about the bank would just repeat one of the stock phrases. Then I accidentally hit the solution while trying to pursue a completely different avenue of investigation. Remember those three shady persons in a backroom of a bar, selling something called memory tablet?


I am going to be broke after this


After buying this contraption and experimenting with it, I noticed that using it with my implanted computer, B.O.B, revealed just what I had been looking for - a plan to rob Massiglia bank. I would need some specialised equipment, but fortunately I had just spent my time checking what shops sold which things. I needed some ditroxyl pentradynite, which apparently was some pretty strong acid and which I could find with my local apothecary. I required some coding lenses, which would switch some deadly G-rays off and which could be handmade by a nearby optician. And I had to find something called an axial suction system, which would allow me to walk on a wall like Spiderman.


Although it looks more like something worn in a kink convention

I also had to record Mr. Massiglia’s voice with a voice retrieval system. This was really annoying. I had already acquired couple of voice retrieval systems and tapes for them - since everyone mentioned the thing, it had to be important. I then had to just wait for another appointment - as fun as it was the first time around. The problem was that nothing seemed to activate the voice retrieval system. There’s no “use” or “activate” button in the whole game, so I really had no idea what to do. I did put a tape inside the recorder, but nothing indicated that any recording was going on, when I spoke with Massiglia. The reason for this, I believe, was a bug in the game. I had several voice retrieval systems in my person, when nothing happened, but when I tried dropping all but one system before entering Massiglia’s room, something happened - while speaking with Massiglia, the tape in the voice retrieval system became a recorded tape. I am a bit worried that the game is cracking at the seams already. I spent too much time fiddling with this one scene, just because the game couldn’t handle two items of the same type.

If recording was slightly irritating, the next phase of the plan was pure torture. I couldn’t just use a taxi to get to Carmenta Tower, where Massiglia Bank headquarters were located. Instead, I had to borrow a maintenance ship and fly myself to the tower. Now, my only experience with flight simulators thus far has been the classic Falcon AT, where I simply sucked. Even with the easiest difficulty level, I rarely could get the plane properly up and I think I never managed to land the thing back.


I really learned to hate this guy


And I’m beginning to hate this game also

I guess the controls aren’t that hard and it’s more my problem and not the game’s. With one button I can increase speed and with another I can decrease it - the current speed is indicated by the white line at the center of screen (as you can see, I try to go as slow as possible). I can also turn the plane to upwards, downwards, left or right - the altitude is described by the number you see on the screen. It all sounds quite easy, but I still managed to usually turn the plane upside down and fly in circles. Thankfully, it’s apparently impossible to crash the plane.

A major problem for me has been that I haven’t found a way to access the map view of the simulator, since I find comparing the cockpit view with the via-express map from the manual quite challenging. The manual mentions that the simulator does have a map view, but fails to explain how to turn it on - it only mentions a reference card containing all the necessary information for controls. At least the game has decency to indicate prominent landmarks, once you fly close to them. Thus, when I had found Carmenta Tower, I had to just slow down and approach the tower - at some point the game put me on autopilot.

Compared to the time spent in flying that damned contraption, the actual robbery went like a breeze. In fact, there was no challenge at all. I just had to find the hotspot for the next screen and then I would watch an animation, where my character would automatically use the required equipment.


Pouring acid on wall


Scanning my contact lense


And another wall

I originally thought I was supposed to steal enough money from Massiglia Bank to enable me to buy the deeds from Mr. Massiglia. It turned out I was just meant to take the deeds from the vault of the bank. I am pretty doubtful how this could work. I have already gathered few deeds that belonged to a dead guy, and you might suppose that I could use his deed certificates for my own purposes. Stealing these certificates from a living person seems completely different matter. I mean, Massiglia is listed as the owner of the deeds in the central information system of the planet. Isn’t he still the owner of those deeds, although I stole them from him? Or are the developers suggesting that the actual deed papers mean that much in a digitalised future?

In addition to deeds, the contents of the vault were meagre. I did found about a dozen credit cards for Massiglia, each having a balance of 100 000, but I seem unable to use them. This makes some sense because presumably these futuristic credit cards have a reliable security system that lets only their owner use them. The only remaining question then is why anyone would put them in a safe. Whatever the answer, only thing I can do with these cards is sell them and they are worth only few credits a piece.


 And I still had to fly back!

The problem is what to do now. My only lead is that there are some unlisted deeds which I’ll probably have to acquire. I really have no idea where to get them, and Sylvia has no hints for me either. Am I supposed to search through all Shedishan citizens and hope that someone might own the deeds? Any small nudges to the right direction would be truly appreciated.

Session time: 2 hours, 15 minutes
Total time: 25 hours, 15 minutes

Note Regarding Spoilers and Companion Assist Points: There’s a set of rules regarding spoilers and companion assist points. But if anyone could give a tip what I am supposed to do next, I'd be quite delighted.

11 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. :D Was this question inspired by me mentioning a kink convention? I must admit that I know of these events only through bad comedy series, so don't take anything I say about them as a fact. And as for an answer to your question, well, my wife might know a bit more about that.

      (As an explanation for those who can't read Swedish: the name of our commenter is a Swedish equivalent of an English slang word that is sometimes also used for roosters, while his question is essentially "Are U gay?" I suspect this might be just spam, but I'll leave it undeleted in case it's not.)

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    2. Actually it means more like do you want to gay....

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    3. Thanks for the clarification! Then I think I'll have to directly say that I am not interested, I hope that doesn't disappoint you too much. Furthermore, I might add that a comment section of an adventure game blog is most likely not the most fruitful place for looking people to hook up with.

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  2. Wow, no wonder I didn't figure this out when I played as a kid. I knew I had to rob the bank and even flew the vehicle there, but couldn't figure out how to pull it off. I don't think I figured out how to put the memory chip in the arm computer.

    And by the way: To my recollection the flight simulator portion is horrible. I don't think it's just you.

    I never solved the game, so I'm not sure what exactly you're supposed to do, but here's a small thought: Vg'f cbffvoyr gb syl n fcnprfuvc hc gbc na nfgrebvq va beovg, n zvavat snpvyvgl. V znqr vg hc gurer (naq V erzrzore gung orvat n erny cnva!), ohg pbhyqa'g cebterff. V jbaqre vs univat pbzcyrgrq gur onax dhrfg zvtug haybpx jungrire vf fhccbfrq gb unccra hc gurer.

    Offered for whatever it's worth (maybe not much...)

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    1. Nice to hear I haven't been the only one disliking the simulator parts. And thanks for your suggestion! I did manage to get forward on my own, and while space travel isn't the beginning of the next phase of the plot, it's certainly something you'll see in the following post.

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    2. And yes, using the memory chip with the computer. The trick was to "insert" the tablet in the B.O.B. seen in the inventory, just like if you would be putting an object in a container. It's somewhat unfair, because so far this has been the only time such a move does anything useful and usually B.O.B is used from its own interface.

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  3. I'm having flashbacks to reading the manual to the first game. I read it, tried again an hour later, opened it next week and decided that it had one MacGuffin too many and just resolved to drinking my issues away. I understand essentially what you've done here. It all looks really pretry. The only problem is that the coaxial sucker splergutanium implant flagurglebangs in the juntonium cluster owned by Zaphod Dungleflox whoop kerthunk where's my thribble.

    With the amount of jargon they seemed to think was warranted, they'd probably just have been better odd giving a couple of things slightly more standard names. Tex Murphy did this so much better while still feeling incredibly fanciful (outside of the fax machines anyway).

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    1. Heh, I completely agree with you that the game has its share of "reverse the polarity of the neutron flow" -type of gibberish. Axial suction system seems decent enough - it's probably made of suction cups (although why it is axial, is beyond me). Admittedly, there's the weird conundrum that the memory tablet calls this thing suction system, while in the inventory the McGuffin is called sucker system... Oh well, it's still a lot better than ditroxyl pentradynite, which is just plain gibberish.

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  4. Going entirely by a walkthrough found on-line, I think you kick off the next quest by: npdhvevat n arjfcncre naq ernqvat va vg nobhg n fhfcvpvbhf zheqre.

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    1. Thanks, that's just the trick! I did manage to find the start of the next phase on my own, but let me say it's purely down to just luck and not very satisfying puzzle at all. More on that on my next post.

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