davidn: (skull)
[personal profile] davidn
Now that Laura has escaped from a traditional family getaway where everybody tries to murder everybody else for various reasons and the guilty party was the one who happened to get there first, it's time to be judged on our performance. How did we do, Roberta?

Bugger. One tiny little degree of suspicion away from the top rating of Super Sleuth which would indicate we found everything. (The given rating blinks and I got the screenshot at the wrong time - I was rated as a Seasoned P.I.)

And before we exit the theatre - because this is, after all, still a stage performance - we finally get to take a look at that notebook that I thought would be a usable inventory item throughout the game.

I'm not totally sure how the Notebook works, but from researching around, it looks like anything you missed will be marked as INCOMPLETE - if you have a red line that says that in any category you've missed something there, and even if some of the lists consist of one entry, they're complete if we don't have anything saying otherwise. Some of the categories make it easy to see what went wrong in them... some are completely impossible.

For example, here, I would just have an INCOMPLETE if I hadn't befriended Celie, without much of a clue as to what to do otherwise if I hadn't. But I did, with the necklace - so that's everything done here.

This would be a more obvious category to complete - there are three food items to take in the game, and I got them all (soup bone, carrot, crackers). It wouldn't tell you what you missed, of course, but at least you know there's a piece of food somewhere in the game that you didn't take. It's something.

Another obvious one, which was taken care of by the walkthrough and my memory of [personal profile] kjorteo's experience with the second game. Always search the bodies! Because they'll disappear and be dumped in the basement.

I don't think there's any way to miss this one because they're such important events and I'm pretty sure finding bodies is vital to move time forward - but I'd be mildly interested to see just how little you can discover in this game in order to get the "barely conscious" rating.

That's a lot of secret passages! I don't think I actually stepped through them all - just finding the main ones in the house must open a lot of these up if it counts looking through the pictures as secret entrances.

Again, there's not much to go on here if you miss one of these. If you've found the place where it's appropriate to use an object a second time you're in luck, otherwise you aren't. (Did I use the diary more than once? I don't even think I did.)

Got the diary from the suitcase. You'd never know it was there unless you were spying at the right time.

Again, this is a secret within a secret!

Probably hints it's in the chapel, at least. I suppose you could miss this and do the rest of the chain as oiling the armour is a pretty obvious thing to do even without the clue to do so.

Things you successfully examined with the monocle. (I'm still annoyed about those fingerprints meaning nothing.)

Blimey, is this going to go on much longer? Things you found out by spying at the right time, not much in the way of guidance there.

There's the reason for that detour at the end - you have to see where each of these objects started and where they ended up.

Amazing to think you can just completely miss the game's best moment.

And here's our problem. We went on a bit of a journey here - first it was obviously Clarence, then Lillian, and finally we were told it was the Colonel. But what are we missing here? Is there some evidence that would change the course of the ending and reveal that Lillian was involved in the killings after all?

Finally, 9:45 is the first time that you're able to visit the attic. 24 pages! That's a thorough list of things that you can do wrongly.

Oh, thanks for condescending to me, Roberta Williams. Why don't you make your games a bit less impossible? All right, give us some hints.

The attic... what did I miss in the attic? I got there as soon as the walkthrough told me that it was open. Oh, I bet it was that fucking boot that I didn't examine with the monocle when I had the chance, then it disappeared later, so I didn't get to match it with the bootprint in the grounds. Is that really it?



Here?! Where you tricked me into thinking I'd found the ending?

That wasn't the ending! They went to all the effort to produce a whole fake ending for choosing the wrong person to shoot here! Did things like this happen in 1989, outside Choose Your Own Adventure? Were there other games with multiple elaborate endings like this?

So the Colonel really was sneaking around the house, hence the discovery of his cane and cigar when he presumably had to hurry back to his wheelchair when we were about to walk into one of the passages. But he didn't have as good (or indeed bad) timing as we did, and somehow didn't notice any of the killings or the bodies being dumped down the laundry chute.

You know, now that you mention it this story does sound a lot more likely than what Rudy told us. So having stopped the killer, why did Rudy suddenly decide to take her place?

How does he know this? Did Rudy take the time to explain his plan to him before attempting to murder him? That would explain why I had time to look in the doctor's bag. (Again, look at the amazing harsh lighting from behind achieved in EGA - the cyan looks weird if you look at it too closely, but as a whole it's great.)

A flare shoots into the sky and bursts like Disneyland. I've been there once for the fireworks show at the castle - it's a strange combination of the gentle melodies of "When You Wish Upon a Star" punctuated with deafening explosions.

The next morning(!!), the emergency flare gets a response with an entire two policemen in a tiny boat (I assume it's in a few hours, rather than literally the next day). No wonder the Colonel has a doctor living (well, until recently) on the island with him - one blood clot in the wrong place and you're dead out here.

"Except maybe to be rewritten in a less racist accent."

As for us...

Thanks! Sorry about desecrating the bones of your relatives, by the way. I wonder how much the bag of jewels was worth - she's still working as a reporter in the second game, but I would have thought there was enough there to make a huge difference to her life after going through this. Maybe she invested the money in the stock market somewhere around September 1929.

And so... even though it sounds like the game is trying to have the Colonel give a wise and profound moral here, they've really ended it on a bit of a downer. Just about everyone's dead, and the Colonel decides that his isolated lifestyle is completely justified because the one time he had a family reunion, most of them left in caskets. Oh well.

And that was it - that fairly major decision at the end was what gave me the top grade of Super Sleuth.

Obviously, of course, Lillian murdered the most people - the story that Rudy gave us in the other reality was false, but they did a good job of making it seem like it was plausible. There was another obvious clue to this that I forgot to even mention - look at the blackboard on the right hand side of the doll house during Act 8!

It wasn't even there when we first visited, but there are seven tally marks on it now - for Gertie, Wilbur, Gloria, Ethel, Fifi, Jeeves and Clarence.

And so, that really is the end this time - we've discovered every important event that there is to discover and the game is finally over. Thanks for going through it with me - I will write up some closing thoughts next time!

Date: 2017-05-25 01:54 am (UTC)
xyzzysqrl: A moogle sqrlhead! (Default)
From: [personal profile] xyzzysqrl
You know, for about five minutes, even with two walkthroughs at your command, I ALMOST thought you'd bought the fake ending completely and were about to post a "Well, that was unsatisfying" finale.

Date: 2017-05-25 02:06 am (UTC)
xyzzysqrl: A moogle sqrlhead! (Default)
From: [personal profile] xyzzysqrl
Oh, wow. I... thought you were playing it up for dramatic effect. Okay.

Uh... at least there's that big "HINT" button for non-perfect replays and stuff. You can absolutely just kinda coast and drift through the game, showing up long enough to go "Huh, ANOTHER body. Those are EVERYWHERE." and move on, and still arrive at the ending.

(If you just stand there and stare passively, Rudy eventually wins the fight.)

Presumably if you hit that point, the HINT button has a Great Big Lineup of things to tell you.

Date: 2017-05-25 03:34 am (UTC)
kjorteo: Shocked Bulbasaur portrait from Pokémon Mystery Dungeon. (Bulbasaur: Shocked)
From: [personal profile] kjorteo
Oh! Okay, that's... yes, that makes sense. Thank you, I feel better now.

I knew it had to be Lillian, which is why everything from the moment she was found dead in the last update sent my entire mind into such a tailspin there. I guess I had just somehow missed the extra wrinkle in that it was Lillian but then she tried to add Rudy to the victim pile and lost, and on top of that Rudy suddenly realized that oh hey he's pretty much the only one left so he gets the entire fortune if he can just take care of the Colonel. That's a remarkably complicated whodunit reveal... or maybe it's not, but it definitely strikes me as one when I'm used to the second game, where I was coming up with a complicated flowchart with at least four or five different killers, only to find out that it really was just one person on a slasher movie rampage.

One of my complaints about Amon Ra was that it ended with a pop quiz wherein you had to reconstruct every murder in the game on pure guesswork, just because you have enough evidence to implicate almost the entire cast and no real answer to how you're supposed to know which one is fake. I likened the solution to the Albatross Soup lateral thinking "puzzle" or perhaps how Intelligent Design practitioners approach the scientific method, in that you really have to start with a conclusion pulled mostly from your own ass, and assume every piece of evidence supporting it is authentic and every piece refuting it is a red herring.

I concluded by asking someone who was more familiar with the whodunit mystery genre as a whole to please tell me whether that's a unique failing of that particular game or if the entire genre just does that... well, here's my answer! No, even within the Laura Bow series the other game is fine in that regard. Here, it's equally obvious who The Killer is near the endgame (right up until Lillian is found dead, anyway,) but it's far more obvious that The Killer committed all the murders, including the early ones. And even if it wasn't, there's no quiz--all you have to do (well, "all you have to do," it still took two walkthroughs, but you know what I meant) is find all the evidence along the way and then don't shoot the wrong person in the ending, and the Colonel generously will spell the whole thing out.

Speaking of generous, I'm glad Celie not only made it out okay but even got the fortune! Good for her. Though I'm with you in sort of wincing every time she has a line. (Thank God there's no CD version, at least.)

Date: 2017-06-13 08:58 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] lizzyloo
I did wish with both LB games that there could have been more of a And Then There Were None twist to them... I loved Kjorteo's approach to the plot (having pretty much blundered through with a hint book as a kid) and saw how there were a ton of options for the different murders and it didn't have to end with one murderer. I was dissatisfied with the ending of this game for the same reason, to a certain extent... even if you know you have the right meaning, it's a bit of a stretch.
That being said, I love both LB games and have enjoyed watching you and Kjorteo make something I've witnessed a million times seem new and unfamiliar. I may have mentioned this before, but... doing a minimal run is fun. You can see where the game tries to prompt you (like leaving the wardrobe ajar if you haven't found the passages). And it can actually be a challenge to not find the bodies, but the only one you can't finish the game without finding is Lillian! It means a lot of saving and taking the same path everywhere, but still. :D

Date: 2017-06-27 03:25 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] lizzyloo
Their "hints", though, seriously. I don't know any alcoholics who leave a trail of grape stems behind them. And the only character who wore glasses was STILL wearing them after you found them on one of the murder victims.
My parents had the hintbook, which is the only reason I even finished that game well. I even remember as a kid using the red cellophane glasses to see who the killer was and being like, wait, what? That makes zero sense.
Then again, I was 11.

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