davidn: (savior)
[personal profile] davidn
Welcome back to the severely depopulated scAry iteMs estate (yes, that really is an anagram of it, but then so is Rim Ecstasy). This is going to be something of a mini-update becauase the act is extremely short - but finally, we're reaching the end of a very long night...

At the end of the previous episode, we were hovering over Clarence's diary when time was interrupted by the arthritic clock (I honestly can't tell you how slow it is to bong out the time - the game got a lot faster overall when it rolled over to 1am), so let's unfreeze our eyes and read it.

Again, consistent with May the 27th as today's date after midnight has rolled over - and once again, we definitely saw Clarence writing this one after midnight.

Left without you? I suppose in a way, yes. If we're taking this note at face value and not as a decoy to cover himself, of course, Clarence hasn't committed any of the murders that were obviously committed by Clarence - meaning that Lillian or the Colonel coincidentally murdered people in the correct order to make it look suspicious. Could either of them have been in the secret passages watching conversations like us, and strategically picking them off in order to frame Clarence?

Because if they were, we found the Colonel's cane and cigar lying around in there...

We haven't been at the front of the house since the introduction. The dog seems concerned by that note, and animals know about these things.

Great. I suppose we don't have much else to do - [personal profile] kjorteo suggested that we'll probably find Lillian in there, waiting behind the statue for us, wearing a coat made out of everyone else's skin.

She was... a bit right.

For that, she seems remarkably... intact, unless it was a really pathetic gun. Something perhaps... small and easily concealed?

Yes... the derringer. Quite a lot has just happened here in a short flurry of screenshots, so let's go over them...

Lillian took the army clothes from the chest upstairs. We saw her wandering around as a silhouette outside, and on the upper balcony just after Gertie was pushed out the window. (The army clothes didn't disappear from the attic until quite a while after that, but... maybe she rushed to the attic to put them back after the first murders and then got them again later? Maybe the Colonel was wearing them first, put them back and then Lillian stole them later? The second would make more sense if I'm right about the May the 27th thing, but I'm not entirely confident that I am.)

Someone smashed the case with the pistol in the study and came here to get Lillian. There are a few possibilities here - Lillian could have got it herself, the killer encountered her in the hedge garden, there was a struggle and they killed her in self-defence. One of the Colonel, Celie or Rudy could have broken the case and come here - either with intent to murder Lillian or again as a self-defence measure that ended up killing her. The Colonel presumably has the key to the case which could suggest it wasn't him, but in this situation perhaps it was more expedient to just hurl a boomerang through it.

There is no clue as to who wrote the note - no familiar handwriting or anything. Either Lillian trying to lure someone there or someone else trying to lure Lillian there?

The skeleton key in the army coat would have allowed Lillian and/or the Colonel to move around the house unhindered - this includes getting into the attic without the elevator key (as we will do below very shortly). If Lillian was the first one to take the coat, she would have had to have found the skeleton key elsewhere - she wouldn't have been able to get the army gear the first time if she didn't already have it.

And finally, the greatest mystery of all - what on earth is Sierra doing pointing out an easily missable item and making sure that you don't overlook it?! The bullet will become vital in just a couple of minutes, and usually they're very happy to just let you wander off without pixel-sized items (King's Quest 5). As the danger has ramped up, suddenly a small bit of mercy is shown.

We're done outside. Now, with reluctance... back to the house.

Even though you would think that the message indicates a reasonable amount of urgency, the walkthrough mentions it's important to take a detour here and notice that the doctor's bag is now next to the Colonel's wheelchair and has been hurriedly searched through.

And finally, we reach the source of the noise... just before taking this screenshot, I got Laura to load the gun. I'm not having any more Uninvited-style blunders.

This struggle between two of the few surviving characters is the final scene! It's clear we need to make the right decision here or die (then reload and make the right decision). In a panic, I will solve this conflict in the most American way I know how.

No, the game doesn't accept that. All right - so we've got a choice to make. Lillian's probably responsible for most of the murders so far, but there's an outside chance some of them were Clarence or the Colonel... Rudy has had his conflicts with the others but I don't have any evidence pinning any of them on him. And that bag was next to the Colonel's wheelchair - he must have had it out before coming up here... was he looking for something with which to kill the final few members of his weird family? Or did he just take the only weapon that he could improvise, knowing that someone was coming to get him?

After much deliberation...

I'll have that Bequest, please.

Is... that good? Did I win?

Right. Phew. It looks like we haven't died as a consequence, we already saw the open medicine bag next to the Colonel's abandoned wheelchair which aligns with Rudy's story, and we're clearly in a special ending scene - I think we've done it.

I know I've been keen to point out this game's flaws when they're obvious, but the graphics are not among them - what this game does with EGA is amazing.

"Shame about everyone else"! The game remains casual to the end. But that confirms the suspicions we had about the Colonel - that he was well aware he was sowing suspicion at the dinner, and that we was hiding his mobility to remove himself as a suspect.

Alone on an island with only your dead relatives for company! This man is braver than he's ever been given credit for throughout the game.

The next morning, we're punted back along the swampy river by the same boater as last night. I bet not many people buy return tickets for this place.

And later, we're off on a paddleboat back to New Orleans, or just in the exact opposite direction of that house - I'm not picky.

Oh no, what? Did I miss something important despite my double-walkthrough approach, somewhere in the middle of the game where I can't now retrieve it without a ton of effort? Sorry, everyone.

Yes, that's not a satisfactory ending to a murder mystery. Sigh. Even now, some police inspector is digging out that one item left in a hedge somewhere that would have dramatically altered the course of events and given me some vital extra scene for no apparent reason (while somewhere on the other side of the island, one of his sergeants walks on a hidden hotspot slightly to the left side of the porch and is immediately squashed by falling masonry).

At least we got there. That's the end - it's rather unsatisfactory but thank you for at least surviving the game with me! There's still at least one more update to go, as the game has a pretty extensive rating system that will hint at what we missed (but not outright tell us what we should do to correct that) - and then I'll put together some closing thoughts.

Date: 2017-05-24 01:10 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] chalcedony_px4

Oh, no!!!

Three exclamation marks

Someone has shot Lillian to death in the hedge garden!!

Two exclamation marks

Quite afraid now, you fear greatly for your own life!

Yes, that's what “afraid” means. Dear god this writing.

>fire at random


Date: 2017-05-24 01:27 am (UTC)
kjorteo: Portrait of Celine making a o.O face. (Celine: o.O)
From: [personal profile] kjorteo
Wait, that's... what? But...

No, I was sure Lillian was...

I mean at least I feel good about having called that the Colonel set up this whole thing on purpose because no one could be that genre-blind, but...

Okay, I officially did not see this ending coming and am very deeply confused. Will the final update have.. at least some sort of synopsis of the best ending, even if you're not going to go back and try to get it yourself? I have to know at this point.

Credit where it's due though, this game definitely threw me for a loop. I was positive it was Lillian so I spent the entire last part of this update just... having no idea where this was going next, which is definitely at odds with how well telegraphed the identity of the murderer was by the last act of Amon Ra. So on top of the EGA graphics for this game being phenomenal, the mystery writing is actually really good, too. I'm glad I got to experience this game in this manner--certain Sierra gameplay issues aside (the chandelier, the missable vital stuff, etc,) this was actually really good! Granted, I wasn't the one who had to drive, so feel free to correct me from that perspective.

Date: 2017-05-24 02:17 am (UTC)
kjorteo: Photo of a computer screen with countless nested error prompts (Error!)
From: [personal profile] kjorteo
Wait... a sort of fridge logic thought: what happens if you either show up to the final battle without the bullet or just stand there uselessly and take too long? Surely this is one of those Sierra moments where you have to intervene before the wrong person wins and then promptly kills you too, except that that would reveal who the wrong person/killer is.

Date: 2017-05-24 11:16 am (UTC)
xaq_the_aereon: I caught it...now what? (Default)
From: [personal profile] xaq_the_aereon
Hypodermic needle gets smacked out of their hands during the struggle and hits Laura?

I mean, the stuff in the entrance hallway certainly had no trouble scoring a bulls-eye on her. (Stupid chandelier...)

Date: 2017-06-13 08:20 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] lizzyloo
I haven't even made it that far and I already have a comment. Nerd! Anyway, one thing that creeps me out during playthroughs- as many times as we've spied on characters from the secret passages, it makes me wonder if the killer watched us take Lillian's diary or read through Clarence's journal. Creepy!

Date: 2017-06-13 08:22 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] lizzyloo
Two seconds later, you said the same thing. This is why I should read the whole thing first. :D

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