Tuesday, 28 January 2020

The Journeyman Project - Maximum Wave

Written by Reiko

Agent 5 Journal #2: "I've managed to avoid the distortion wave and retrieve the unaffected archive of history. The computer then determined that there were three separate interference events in the past that changed the flow of time. So far, I was able to save Dr. Castillo and destroy a murderous robot, but I've still got a lot of work to do, and it's not going to be easy. I'm going to have to put forth maximum effort to outsmart whoever it is that's caused all this damage!"

To review, I have to prevent three major changes in history: a missile launch toward Gorbastan from a NORAD base in 2112, the destruction of the Morimoto colony on Mars in 2185, and the death of speaker Enrique Castillo at the 2310 rally in Australia. Together, these three changes tipped the balance and prevented the Cyrollans from offering humanity membership in the Symbiotry.

I have no idea at this point how interlinked the solutions to each time period will be, nor how difficult they'll be, so I anticipate having to take a look around each one before I figure out what I need to do. I'll start with the earliest time.

That’s one weird-looking robot...

I materialize in 2112 in a small room facing a doorway. In the doorway stands some kind of robot, which immediately taunts me, saying I'm no match for it, but it loves a challenge. Is this my nemesis, or is it some kind of remotely-operated drone or something? The door closes and the robot is gone, but immediately I get a notification that sleeping gas has been detected. I start turning around a little, and spot something that looks like it could be a gas mask or something, but when I grab at it, I'm immediately dumped to a death screen. Somehow I was caught by security, although I'm not even sure what I did. Surely I didn't succumb to the sleeping gas that quickly. Never mind, let's try a different time first.

Another robot??

I travel to the rally at the science center in 2310 next, appearing in a different sort of room, a bit bigger. In the doorway stands something else that looks more like a person in a suit, but still sounds like a robot. This one also taunts me, saying it's been expecting me, and this time it shoots me with a tranquilizer dart, which appears in my inventory after I pull it out of my suit. The robot thing shifts to look like a person in a lab coat, who disappears through the doorway. Some kind of door reappears behind it, and then I'm free to move around. (If I try to follow it through the door, though, I immediately collapse and fail, but I can move around inside the room for as long as I need. Adventure game timing!)

Tranquilizer Dart inventory item

I look around and determine that the room is full of equipment, most of it helpfully labeled for my convenience. We have a Compound Analyzer, a Prototype Holograph called ARES, a Molecular Compositor, a Compound Synthesizer, and (not labeled) two different video log displays.

Log choices recorded by Elliot Sinclair

One log shows someone examining a rat that's had something inserted into its brain, which apparently is going very well, with no sign of infection. I'm not sure of the significance of this. The other device offers me a list of three different log files recorded by Elliot Sinclair about his critical discoveries. The first two seem like they could be the basis for the disappearing doorways, with some technobabble about being able to morph elements into other elements, except for the noble gases. The third one is about his very first successful time distortion, which presumably led to the development of the time machine. It's interesting background material, but I suspect that if I come back and do an optimized run to improve my time, I can skip all this.

Analysis of the tranquilizer dart contents

The Compound Analyzer looks useful, though. When I poke at its screen, it turns on and asks for an object to analyze. I give it the tranquilizer dart, which it determines to be a substance containing a "Dimenhydrinate based liquid tranquilizer." It sends the data to the Molecular Compositor, which is over by the doorway. When I walk over there and face the device, I hear the same malevolent robotic voice taunting me again. Weird.

This tranquilizer's antidote will be related to Thorazine.

The Molecular Synthesizer Interface screen labels itself as belonging to Sinclair Laboratories. I have no idea why this lab is located so close to the stage where Enrique Castillo is about to speak at the rally, but it's convenient. I guess it's a science center, but still, a place for a large group of people to meet is usually not very near high-tech laboratory facilities.

The synthesizer tells me antidotes are available, based on Thorazine (which is apparently a real drug that is used to treat various psychological issues), and asks if I would like to build one. Well, certainly, that's exactly what I need right now. Apparently I have to build three different variations on the base molecule by testing the options to see which are stable.

Molecule-building minigame

It takes me several minutes to figure out what I'm supposed to be doing here. At first I thought I needed to connect the pieces to specific places on the main structure, but eventually I figure out that I just have to get the right order. In fact, the correct order seemed to be the same for all three molecules. (Later I redo the sequence and verify that this is the case: the pieces are just presented in a different order each time, but the correct order is the same.) Once I drag all six pieces onto the base in the correct order, then the variation is complete and I go on to the next one. Once I have three variations, then the synthesis is complete and the physical antidote is available behind me in the Molecular Synthesizer.

Whew, that's better!

Antidote inventory item

When I pick up the antidote vial, it's automatically administered, so I don't have to worry about succumbing any more. Now I can freely walk around the corridors outside of the lab. The complex seems to be sort of like a hotel / conference center, with many rooms, some of which are identified as belonging to specific people. The door behind me indicates that the lab is Enrique Castillo's room, and he'll be speaking at the rally, which of course I already knew. I find a door for another participant in the rally, but I can't enter that room the way I can the lab. Down the corridor, I find a label that says Auditorium, but I can't do anything with that either. I also have to be careful not to go too far. A few places give me a warning that says I detect people up ahead. Like the cliff warning, if I keep going, I get caught by security and encounter a failed ending.

Is that the robot from earlier?

I wander around for a bit and eventually find a door labeled "Auditorium Electrical Access". When I open it, I hear Dr. Castillo announced to speak, and I see what looks like a person aiming a gun down at the stage of the auditorium from a catwalk. Here's where I can stop him! There's no warning about detecting people, though, so I move forward into the access alcove. The person turns to face me. Uh-oh? There are two things in reach: something labeled "Fire Control Access 7" that I can't seem to do anything with, because it has a padlock on it and a cable on the right with a large label: "Danger High Voltage".

Now it's a fried robot!

I pull the cable out, and the end starts sparking. Then the person turns back into the robot. I guess it has some kind of technological illusion? I click the cable again, and this time I'm able to connect it to the catwalk, where it electrifies the robot. The robot crashes to the floor in front of me. I click on it and open up the head area, where if I'm quick, I'm able to pull out two new BioChips, one for optical memory, and one for a power shield. Then the robot self-destructs, and all that's left is a stun gun, which I also collect. Great, I have some offense and defense now.

BioChip - Shield item

Stun Gun inventory item

The notification screen gives me two new notifications: "Mission update: Dr. Castillo's assassination has been prevented; his life is no longer in danger." And: "Temporal rip status: RESOLVED. All anachronisms eliminated. Prepare for auto-recall." I'm then automatically returned to the Pegasus device in the present time.

So I guess I've managed to complete one of the three time periods. That was actually a little easier than I thought it would be given how quickly I died in the first time period. But I don't yet know if that was the optimal solution or if there are other alternate solutions. It's possible that I didn't use a non-violent solution given that I electrocuted the robot, although I don't really understand if it was a robot that looked like a person, or if it was a person in a robotic time travel suit, or what. I don't know what I look like when I've traveled back in time either, but given that the robot self-destructed, I'm assuming there wasn't a person in there?

Elliot Sinclair's video

Back in the Pegasus, I can see that the temporal rip in 2310 no longer appears as an option since the situation has been resolved. The other thing to note here is that the Optical Memory BioChip, which is for storing video data, already had a video on it that I could access, called the "Mercury Objective". In it, we see a rather insane-looking Elliot Sinclair ordering someone ("Mercury") to go back in time and eliminate Enrique Castillo by making it look like an accident if possible, but if not, doing it anyway. That's rather interesting. Elliot Sinclair was the inventor of the time machine, but apparently he's rabidly anti-alien and wants to change history to eliminate any chance of joining with the Cyrollans.

What's particularly odd about that, to me, is that this seems like almost the same plot as Journeyman Project 3. I'm getting ahead of myself, of course, but in JP3, Elliot Sinclair shows up again to interfere with the Cyrollan initiative. I'm going to make a prediction that, at the end of this game, he ends up disappearing into the past and avoiding capture. Maybe his hit man can be brought to justice, though, if there is one other than the robots?

To get all the death sequences, I of course restored back and replayed parts of the rally a few more times, and in doing that, I found one certain bug and at least one inconsistency. The first time, I saved the game right after I applied the antidote, while I was still in Sinclair's lab. When I restored that save later, the game acted like I was jumping into the time period for the first time, showing me the robot sequence, including shooting me with the tranquilizer dart again. I already had the antidote in my inventory, but I couldn't use it. Maybe I should have tried making it again, to see if I would have ended up with two antidote items or something. I started the area over and this time saved outside the lab, and then I had no trouble.

I was trying to optimize my path the second time through, so I just made the antidote as quickly as possible and then went directly to the robot and disabled it. Afterward, I noticed that my score was actually significantly lower this time: I'd ended up with 50472 after clearing the rally for the first time, with about 60% energy left, but now my total was only 43090, with more than 90% energy left. I went back and poked at a few things to see if some of the optional items like viewing Sinclair's logs gave more score points, but I couldn't find anything. I have no idea why my score was higher the first time, as I thought being more efficient and using less energy was supposed to result in a higher score, not a lower one. Am I wrong? Is this another bug? I also tried waiting until my energy was much lower (below 25%) but my score afterward was even lower, around 38k, so that seems consistent with efficiency = good.

BioChip - Optical Memory item

I also noticed that while most of the items I got in 2310 were listed as being found in the “World Science Center,” the Optical Memory chip’s location is listed as “NORAD VI.” What’s that about? I wonder if I’m really supposed to have gone through the time periods in order and gotten the Optical Memory chip first from 2112, and then perhaps later the chip just updates with more videos. It probably won’t matter, but it seems like a minor bug.

BioChips: Interface, Mapping, Pegasus, Optical Memory, Shield
Other inventory: Transport Card, Journeyman Key, Tranquilizer Dart, Antidote, Stun Gun
Time travel trips: 2 (plus a failed trip to 2112)
Score: 50472 (first time); 45604 (later)
Session Time: 1 hr 45 min (not including half an hour to run out the energy in 2310)
Total Time: 3 hr 15 min

Deaths: 6 (total: 9)

"Curiosity killed the time traveller."

#4: If for some reason you stick around in 200 million years in the past long enough for the suit's energy to be depleted, you'll get a unique ending labeled "Pterodactyl": "You succeeded in escaping the bounds of time and space to travel 200 million years into the past, only to be eaten by a Pterodactyl. Next time you should heed the warnings and move a little faster, genius." This is actually pretty hard to do, as I had to just sit around for about ten minutes for the energy to fully deplete. In the comments on the previous post, Niklas suggested that it was possible to get eaten by dinosaurs by interacting with something in a cave, but I was unable to find any other interactions in the area. As far as I can tell, this is the only other death in that time period. If I missed something else, do let me know.

I barely touched anything!

#5/6: If at any time I succumb to the sleeping gas in 2112, or run into people in 2310, I get a "Caught by Security" ending: "Out of energy and in the hands of law enforcement offices, you have been escorted to the jail cell which is to serve as your new home. Had you paid attention to the warnings, it may not have ended this way." I didn't get any warnings in 2112, other than the sleeping gas, and there's one place in 2310, just past the electrical access alcove, that gives no warning at all.

"Ten-step poison"

#7: In Terry Goodkind's Sword of Truth series, there's a poison, usually applied to arrows, that's called "ten-step poison." It's called that because the victim will only be able to take ten steps before succumbing. There's apparently also a real pesticide that's called Tres Pasitos, or "three little steps," because mice will succumb that quickly to it. That's what this tranquilizer dart feels like if you try to leave the lab without acquiring the antidote. The ending is called "Poison Dart": "Despite your best efforts, you could not resist the life-draining exhaustion which crept over you. You have perished."

I'm so dead...

Laser fire at close range

#8: If I stand around and watch the assassin for too long, he first fires at the stage, presumably killing Enrique Castillo, then he shoots me. The ending is "Laser Blast": "The concentrated blast of the robot's weapon cut through your layers of defense like a warm knife through butter. He had no regrets."

I also included the previous moment before the ending screen to note three things: first, the completed map of the area in the lower right; second, whatever it is (the ending calls it a robot, anyway) appears as a person when firing at Enrique Castillo, but shifts back into a robot form to shoot at me. And third, the padlock that had been on the fire control access is suddenly gone. I have to wonder if there's anything else I could have done with that. Did the laser also shoot the padlock off? Seems like it's too late to make any use of it once the robot has already shot Castillo, though.

I’m lost in time again...

#9: If I wait long enough at the rally to expend all my energy, I end up with the "Encarcerated" ending: "Behind bars and out of energy, you must now live out the rest of your life in the past. Maybe you can start a support group for the temporally displaced." This takes quite a long time, actually, at least half an hour. The rate that energy declined was about 1500 per second when at 200M years in the past, but in 2310, it was about 300 per second. Maybe it takes more energy to maintain the suit when it's farther back in the past? The other quirk with this ending is that I only get the "General Exploration" 5000 points, plus a "Finale" award of 15000, for a total of 20000 points. The other endings all showed my current score up to the failure moment. I'll have to check the other two time periods later to see if the out of energy ending is the same there.

And that's as far as we'll get for this time. CAPS are also available for the first person to find a repeated typo within one of the screenshots in this entry. I'll be back next time with my exploration of the base on Mars in 2185.

Note Regarding Spoilers and Companion Assist Points: There’s a set of rules regarding spoilers and companion assist points. Please read it here before making any comments that could be considered a spoiler in any way. The short of it is that no points will be given for hints or spoilers given in advance of me requiring one. Please...try not to spoil any part of the game for me...unless I really obviously need the help...or I specifically request assistance. In this instance, I've not made any requests for assistance. Thanks!


  1. How did they screw up "dicovery"?
    This is the fast version. The original must have been incredibly unbearable.
    What if a time traveller alters something after the end of the historical log? I guess that's a small possibility though...
    I have to say, the time travel animations are very cool, like something out of a low budget music video. I have a feeling the dialog on those might be clues.
    I get the feeling that whoever altered time knows we're coming. Inside man? Future us? Or just another group of time travelers?
    That's not a gas mask, it seems to be some kind of air purging thing. It seems to knock you out. Not that it matters when nothing else does anything.
    Maybe which dinosaur gets you depends on which area you die in.

    1. You got it. Especially three times on one screen...you'd think someone would have noticed before the game shipped.

      Whoever altered time was definitely trying to get the jump on us before we stop him. So far in 2112, it worked.

      So did your path diverge from mine?

    2. And all the patches and rereleasing the game.
      I'm a little behind you in terms of time spent, but I went to the Mars colony after the NOMAD failure.

  2. That's not exactly how Sinclair's role plays out in JP3, but you do get a rather extraordinary explanation for his Xenophobia.

    1. Yeah, I was gonna chime in to second this. His appearance in JP3 (which is smaller than stated in the post) is more just to explain WHY he feared the Cyrollans as much as he did.

  3. To my mind the assassin would be disguised as human to make the assassination seem like a normal event unrelated to time travel. I just hope you don't need what is behind that fire door, it reeks of a walking dead situation.

    1. Especially since you can't return to completed time periods. But I'm proceeding under the assumption that if there's anything to do with it, then it's an alternate solution. I think it's likely that from here I'll be able to finish the game and save history but not get the best score for least violent interventions. I will likely have to replay.