Friday 23 April 2021

Missed Classic: The Nine Lives of Secret Agent Katt - Too Many Numbers

 Written by Morpheus Kitami

Secret Agent Katt is a weird game. I don't mean weird in the usual sense. There's nothing I could take out of context and say, what is this crap? Nothing like Inca or Melvin Freebush, or whatever Japanese obscurities there are. Secret Agent Katt is entirely mundane in that regard. Too mundane. In Secret Agent Katt, the most obvious answer is seemingly the right answer. Door's locked? Find a key. Nothing does anything? Well, its already open you fool.

In the mythical women's bathroom

Meanwhile, in a gas station bathroom...

I had done something, that was certain, but what did I do? The lounge area offered me nothing but a guard. It had two bathrooms, the woman's one was clean and the men's was dirty. Get it? Because women are prim and proper, while men pull a Jackie Chan on the ceiling to take a dump. Nothing here. Not even opening the faucet does anything. I should explain, in Last Half, if you messed with one, they turned on and the sink overflowed. Neat touch. I'm not seeing that here. At some point coming back here, I saw a guard, but I ran away afterward, uneager to waste ammo. We'll find out if that's right later.


Nearby there was a vending machine...which was unplugged for some reason. I didn't do that. I plug it in. There are some names on the wall, but is that for a puzzle or just something clever? I have no money. You'd think unidentified US black ops agency would give their agents a few Lira before dumping them somewhere in Italy.

Talking to agent 34-24-36 on my video phone, so futuristic

As I leave that area, the other agent calls me. Letting me know that another helicopter is here. This wasn't interesting of itself, but considering I have to get the speed down real low in order to not get turned into Swiss cheese...and it took a good half minute before the beeping of the phone stopped, during which time I was under the impression I could stop I pressed the button that opens the vidphone half a dozen times...and you couldn't skip past any of it...and there's a guard not too far from where I am...but that's okay, that's just SoftLab Laboratories game logic for you.

Note the second cursor

A locked door. How do I open it? I don't know. I can't pick it. I can't open it. Trying to move through it tells me to open it. I can't look at it, because its not "interesting". I realize people have memed adventure games into being, "its a door, lulz", but some information, like say, what this door's problem is, could be helpful at some point. I'm looking around because I don't know what I'm doing, and point-blank telling me that its just a normal door with a fancy lock is actually helpful here.

I already opened the door on the left

Some more exploration later, and an interesting set of doors. Ahead of me, a door with a keypad. I haven't seen anything like a code so far, unless its one of those phone numbers in the bathroom...and if it is that's really freaking lame. To the left, a manager's Katt assumes, but the only thing in there is a phone. To the right, an air vent. I'd whine about that being unrealistic, cause that's about as stealthy as throwing a grenade. And it is just general video game logic, air vent passages. I have some difficulty getting the vent open, pick doesn't work, screwdriver doesn't work. Nothing is working, but I haven't tried the explosives yet...


I throw a grenade. The timebomb doesn't work on that, there must be a special plan for it. This is another delayed action where you can accidentally start a new action while the current action is waiting to end. This results in Mad Dog throwing two grenades at an air vent to no effect to anything. This isn't an outcome I expected, I know I was in an airduct before, but that was just me messing around before making the first entry. What the hell is going on?

So I wander around. This isn't the first time I've played this game, once ten or so years ago. But back then I never finished it. If the game doesn't let you do some actions for non-sensical reasons, I think I understand why. I know there's an air vent around here I can open. Oh, that 1st floor door? Yeah, you can walk in through the stairwell, but you can't walk back out.

I am a master lockpick

But then gold. Downstairs in front of the elevator there's a lock held on by screws...This one makes sense, since its electronic. Hmm...I haven't seen anything about the wires here, but red is the usual color to cut.'s cut. I guess I better follow the line...and I got it. Now I'm supposed to put in a key. I don't have a key and Tia has been nearly useless so far, since it seems she can't pick a single lock. It's tricky to get away from the interior of the lock, since the game wants you to close it with the screwdriver again. No getting away from it otherwise.

Game design

I've been solving a lot of puzzles, but I haven't been getting anywhere. I hate the elevator. You have to be so precise when hitting floor numbers. All I wanted to do was head to the 2nd floor again. Somehow I hit the first, then the third. Oh, well, I guess I'll try the vent again...and I just try opening it, which I didn't do before. It opens. At least it didn't make me take out the individual screws. While there are little things that make this game fun, there are little things like this that make things infuriating. Although I cannot remember when I saw a game that told me, "you can just open it, you dumb ass".


Speaking of infuriating things, while I'm inside the vent the exit placement is not ideal. Like I said, the downmost exit is usually an indication of where you just entered from. Which is why I start, looking at an air duct. That I have to open to get back out. I have no idea what I'm doing and I'm sure that I'm going to have to make a map of it if I get stuck at some point. I used to enjoy mazes in games, stuff like this is just gradually sucking out whatever fondness I ever had for them.

 If anyone starts whispering Katt's name, I'm quitting and giving it a 0

I find myself in a furnace. Let's just say the last game I played involving one of these wasn't good. I can crank it up or turn it off. I'm turning it off, because I'm going to be a dick to these people for no reason. Back to the ductwork.

 It just looks like Katt's escaped a mental hospital

To give an example about the ductwork, there was a T-section. Going to the right sent me to a straight tunnel, and both of the exits from that position sent me to a T-section. I don't even know how I got here since I'm pretty sure this is from a different part of the crosspiece. This is a safe room, the same requires some kind of six digit code. What's that code, well, the piece of paper above it...ahem...

The piece of paper is contains the words: EGG + RING + DIAMOND = COMBINATION

We've seen the egg, and the diamond. I think its safe to say that isn't the jewel. So I finally have a solid idea of what to do next, reach those items. To do so, in here there is a guard's uniform. I don't know how useful that will be, there's no talk function. Eh, I have enough faith that the author foresaw that, his last game had a talk function.

Such a precise number

I bumble my way outside, right to the 1st floor. Whichever one had the power room, I've forgotten this crap already. Checking the keypad again, I find that this one also has screws. Another simple wire-cutting task later, and I'm seeing the rare ring of Jiji. Fisher names his artifacts like Al Lowe names his women, huh? Anyway, I just take it. Surprising, I know, I was expecting it to be a trap. Looking at it in the inventory, I see that its worth 12 million. I see how you're doing this. Now, how about that guard?

Just like the rest of my stealth missions

Oh, I see, nothing happens and then he realizes I'm an outsider. How useful considering how vital it is I need to know that a famous singer will probably be in the area later. He misses a lot. I guess there is a reason for letting the others stay behind. Also, using the fist icon does nothing. Doesn't seem to be a point in fighting him...but, and unfortunately this is a big but, it looks like I can interact with the arcade cabinet he's playing on. Those of you familar with Humongous Entertainment games will think, cool, a sidegame. Oh, no, this is going to be vital to completing the game. It happened in The Last Half of Darkness 3. Or...will happen, because that game's from future of 1993.

I discover another door that I thought was locked I just had to open. Huh, well, there's an issue somewhere here, its either the game or between the keyboard and the monitor. Its the guard's room, nothing really interesting in it, but I do discover I have to hit the vending machine to get a soda...which does nothing so far, because I have no money. Undisclosed US black ops agency is really tight-fisted with their money.

Uh...huh...okay then...

After tripping up the alert on the egg again, I half-hearted go to the roof to try to shoot down the helicopter. Didn't really try it too hard the first time, and so far a lot of my problems are boiling down to, something in your way? Do the obvious solution. So I shoot down a helicopter with a pistol. It just explodes. This all feels like I'm cheating somehow. This feels too easy. Am I missing something? Is this a kids game? It'd be weird if it was, I'll show you why in a little while.

This isn't the bit I'm talking about

Anyway, after that, I can just get the diamond, its worth 29 million. The agent is still talking about the other helicopter, that I just shot down. The egg is not that tricky to get, I just have to take out the guard in the camera room I didn't mention because I didn't think it was important. He's not from the egg, next to the exit out, which has a Playboy magazine for some reason. The egg is worth 34 million. Now we can find out what's inside that safe.

If you haven't been mentally putting it together, the password is 34-12-29. Only it doesn't work. The game has dashes between the numbers, that doesn't work. Putting spaces or no spaces, doesn't work. Adding it together? No. There is another keypad in the game, but that one has four digits. Suddenly the mystery of how I never beat it before is starting to make sense. What would my idol Dick Dastardly do?

How many adventure games can you say feature this?

So I cheat, do what anyone with a little technical knowledge and no walkthrough would do, I look at the game's executable with a hex editor. I see lots of fun little things in there, I have to cut a dude's hand off, but a specific dude, one of them's too thick to cut off. And I have to pick up that Playboy magazine to get the combination to the other keypad. Now that we've had our fill of sex and violence, what about the combination? Its 34-12-29, that's straight from the executable. I'm not wrong, the game is programmed wrong, I assume. So that means I'm stuck.

I guess I need to put the jewel here

With the hand I can get into room guarded by lasers on the first floor. Or the basement, since the door outside is on the 2nd floor. This leads to another door, which requires a jewel to enter. Not the diamond I have, a different jewel. Which means that whatever is inside the safe is extremely necessary. But what about the other keypad? Well, the part of the code is 12, its a 4 digit code. If you're familiar with the most common passwords, there's 1-2-3-4. Which is true. I was actually going to do that as a joke before getting distracted by the safe. What's inside there?

Hey, nice doggie, I'll just take that hat...

Oh, no, he bit off my...hand...somehow

Remember kids, shooting dogs is okay if they're going to rip your arm off

You can't tell this guy makes horror games at all!

Lost so hard I broke the game

So at this point, it occurred to me to that, why don't I try bombing the safe? Well, that works, and I get a piece of paper with the numbers 3-4 on it. Well, that's just great! The whole thing was unnecessary because I already knew that. It doesn't take a genius to figure out 1234 in a game where I cut the red wire first! Oh, and as I'm walking through the vents outside, the game decides I lost. Is it because I used the bomb? Who knows? To tie up a loose end, the uniform is to get info from a guard. Kat walks in alone, in full uniform, and uses the guard, or just waits. He gives the right name off a nearby list, and the guard tells him that Franco uses an empty soda can to get the jewel off the stand. Also, you can't sneak attack him, using the gun just talks to him. The fate of this game's plot hinges on me finding out where there's a 25 lira coin. Assuming there is a 25 lira coin. I mean, surely they're not using quarters in Italy? What, are all Italians like international drug dealers in films, where they only use American money? I'm not sure how that would work. Or is Franco special?

You could say this was an interface problem

I'm unsure of what is even left at this point. There are quite a few empty rooms, but they don't have anything interesting. Including the manager's office. I mean it looks like the drawer is interesting...oh, I just clicked in the wrong place the first time, I guess. I genuinely thought there was no point to this room beforehand. Clicked everywhere. Tia picks it open, huzzah, and the painting moves to reveal a safe. A six digit safe, aha! That means the code was for here all along. I get a key. A key to what? I don't know. As I'm going towards a door that the key might fit in the game said I lost because I took too much time. There's a time limit. I'll give the game something, it took such a long amount of time to reach I don't actually think that's a problem. Next time, I think I can finish this thing. Surely this isn't going to go on too much longer? I wonder how that scuba section is going to go...

This session: 1 hour 10 minutes
Total Time: 2 hour 10 minutes

1 comment:

  1. As far as I know, there's never been a 25 lira coin in Italy.