Saturday, October 31, 2020

Alone in the Dark 2 - Puzzling

 Its time to deal with those unpleasent goons. Let's see how many bullets I...

Note the weird head in the center
...Ten bullets? Ten. Assuming these toughs are the easiest enemy in the game, that's still one I have to fight with my fists. Okay...I must have just missed a magazine or something. Yes, there's another one in that room. Okay, let's do this.
If somebody asks you what AitD2 is about, send them this screenshot
Jammed? JAMMED? JAMMED!? ARE YOU...!? Okay, this isn't due to magic, its just jammed. In a normal game, we'd just be able to unjam it. Since this is taking the worst traits of adventure and action games, we're going to need an item to do it, methinks. If only I still had that pipe cleaner.
I start off by trying the other token on the machine again. This causes a doubloon to mysteriously appear. Dunno why. There seems to be a number on the model, I hope it isn't important. I hope, I hope, I hope.
Seen here, after disappearing into nothing
While I'm going upstairs to vainly search for something to solve my problems, the trident guy throws his trident at me. I manage to make it upstairs, but climb back down to make sure I'm not screwed later. The trident is moving around weirdly and then hits the other chef. Haha, two problems solved.
Its not that impressive in motion
Back upstairs, I try once again to take the amulet...and it works. Why? Carnby gets flown up...for some reason. At first I think I'm screwed and this is a death sequence, but then I appear in another floor, an attic I think. There's a note and a flask.
Where am I placing this?
The note is...telegraphs don't really have those stop messages, right? This seems silly. Also, a bit of irony in future Looney Tunes licensee making a game with an Acme company in it.
The real toughest battle so far
The next room has two goons. Sounds simple enough. One's melee and the other's ranged. Little difficult. It sounds a little difficult. Its very difficult. Its not exactly a question of winning, I find that not too difficult. The problem is not winning by an incredibly small margin. The ranged user is a known variable, he hits, sometimes he doesn't. The melee is a new, fun enemy. For a while all the enemies have been ignoring my melee attacks and the tommy gun usually jams. And this melee enemy is a gymnast. Not only does he ignore my melee attacks, when he's in the middle of one of his, even if I do hurt him he still makes the attack. He at least drops a flask that gives you thirty points of health, but forget it if they expect me to move forward with 31 points of health.
You were stealthy for Striker, why not me?
After doing some kind of victory, helped by another Tommy gun placed inside a box, which actually works. At some point I should probably drop some of these items that are of no value anymore. There's a certain advantage to the way Resident Evil has an item limit, in addition to squirelling away all the notes. There's one room, with I believe the toy version of One-Eyed Jack, but that seems to be useless. In the other room is where Grace was, and now isn't. The Joker zombie is still there, and he seems to be an actual puzzle. Shooting or melee is useless. The room next to him is some kind of snakes and those are instakills. What can I do?
You must have missed the last hour of the game, Carnby
I try the grenade and the pompom, on both the joker and the entrance into the snake room. Eventually Carnby throws the pompom, figuring this must have done something. I run out of the room. The clown follows. I run back in, checking for items, then run into the snake room, surviving. I seem to have thrown it into this room, fat lot of good that's done me. There's a chimney so I climb down.
Now who's sneaking up on who?
This takes me to the room with the five goons. Just dumping me there. The goons get out of the way and then start blasting away. This game. This freaking game. Well, I have to admit I at least know how to do this.
"Armour", say what, old chap?
I mostly had this figured out properly. I'm supposed to use the pompom into the snake room. Snakes chase after the joker, leaving me alone. Then, I'm supposed to use the grenade down the chimney. This kills two of the enemies. Two. I guess this also softens up the rest of them, but they killed me good a couple of times. Through clever use of scenery, I manage to survive this encounter without the bullet-proof vest. I think I might just need that later. Inside this room is...a billiard ball. That was all I needed. There's a door that leads to a bathroom. Nice to know they weren't just climbing the stairs...why is there another bathroom on the second floor again?

Doesn't take a genius to figure out where to use the billiard ball. Considering how many items are of such specific use I'm surprised I've had any trouble. I'm not supposed to use the billiard ball on the table, because "its the wrong kind of billiard"???? Whatever, it goes into the other machine, the bookcase moves and the path is finally clear.
When I enter the room, the screen turns black, and I wake up in a cell. The camera cuts to outside of the cell, which is another bedroom, containing Grace and the real One-Eyed Jack.
You can tell this game has a higher budget than the last one, it certainly shows in places
Jack goes on to tell me his backstory, he was a pirate. He captured Some captain cursed his name and said his sword will kill him. That sword's still on the ship. Wonder what I'm going to do with that. There was no treasure, but Elisabeth Jarret, and he knew his destiny and death were far away. While he's talking about this, Grace sneaks away. Then he leaves me, in the cell, alone. I'm going to be here a while, aren't I?

Total Time: 7 hours

This Session: 1.5 hours

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Alone in the Dark 2 - Nightmare Before Christmas

As Carnby's wearing a Santa Claus outfit, this game is starting to feel less like a creepy survival horror game and more like a jolly Christmas game. Considering how many good Christmas games there are, I feel like this might have been a missed opportunity on my part. Not like there's a dearth of pre-Resident Evil survival horror games about...yet...

With me wearing the Santa suit, he just wanders back and somewhere upstairs
When I make it upstairs, the cook takes no notice of me. There are a lot of locked doors here, including the front one. Was that so hard to mention when I was outside? As there seems to be something eager to kill me I quickly go to the one open door I see. Inside is a Christmas scene, curious for a group of zombie pirates.
RIP Santa 270-1924
There's nothing inside but a door that actually opens. I wish it didn't, because there are five guys in there. I suspect they're the same ones who rushed out when the chef screamed. I have more of a chance this time. Two seconds is still more of a chance. That leaves the next floor.
How nice of the game to give the enemies the same inability to aim as the player
Upstairs is safer, but that's because the enemy up here doesn't instantly kill me. I could use the shotgun, but I don't know how the rest of this section is going to play out and I have awful ideas about that. Gotta admit, fist-fighting is starting to feel annoying. He's the guard to some kind of forechamber to the actual hallway.
Check out the Evil Dead inspired woodwork here
I start from the logical position, one of the ends. This appears to be the room of Elisabeth Jarret, I assume its Elisabeth Jarret, that woman sure looked like a witch and this is her room. There are several sections here, including a bathroom, but there's nothing, and I do mean nothing, I can do here now. There's a pair of arms guarding...something, but I'll wait to deal with that.
Who would expect a pool player to be the toughest enemy so far?
Middle room, some sort of gentleman zombie. He's eating shotgun shells for breakfast and its hard to get him into an unbreakable loop. Eventually I manage to get him into a spot where I don't suffer too much. I was genuinely thinking I had to kill him via a trick somehow. Maybe that would have been a better option. There's a derringer (with 10 rounds) here and he drops a sword-cane.
There's a door there, but I won't know for certain for some time
On the other half of the room there yet more stuff I can't interact with in any way, and a piece of parchment (ripped in half) and another book. This is about Frederick De Witt, the pharmacist of the ship. He's also a poisoner and gambling expert. There's also a bookcase blocking a door, and a Pachinko machine, or whatever the non-gambling version is. Both unpushable, both useless to me now.
Carnby regretting his choices in attire
Door no. 3 is...a bathroom. With nothing in it. I don't remember large swaths of AitD 1 having this much dead space. Okay, back to the sword arms, I've got a sword again. There, the other half of the parchment, which is basically a hint for whenever I find an amulet. There's nothing more I can do here, so its back downstairs.
He's remarkably casual when violence is happening in the room
Doors are still locked, but the group of zombies aren't in the kitchen. Unfortunately, when I enter I get attacked by the statue, by some kind of homing trident. I figure out how to get past it eventually, by hugging the walls.
I feel like he's been waiting to work that into a conversation for quite a while
The kitchen is...interesting. The chef doesn't attack me at first, telling me that people like wine, and after making a round around the room, attacking me with a blowgun. The blowgun is incredibly deadly, firing rapidly, and for some reason this guy is difficult to hit with the sword. After managing to kill him...somehow. I find four items, poison, wine, a frying pan, fried eggs. The eggs heal me, the wine is a mystery as to what I actually do with it.
Well, why not?
It takes a lot of time to figure out what to do next. The statue has a crown on it, also acquired by hugging the wall. There's no clever place to put the wine nor is it very obvious as to what to do next. Once again, I look up a little direction, and I'm supposed to put the crown from the downstairs statue onto a different statue. I find it...upstairs. I think this is what the parchment I fixed earlier was supposed to tell me, but I'm not certain. Right now I'm also playing Legacy, and you know what? That game has a different problem with direction, in that its always too obvious. Why is this so hard?
This spawns an amulet, which I can't pick up. Why not? I can't reach it. Why can't I? I dunno. This game is annoying me with its puzzles. At this point I might as well just look up things anytime a problem could have been solved with an examine function. How do I know if its a problem with the examine function? I'll find one when I look it up hours later.
Sure would be nice if I could use those shotguns, but no...
On the 1st floor there are a pair of locked doors that I haven't been able to open. The idea should have been for me to figure out there's a pair of dudes in there that want wine, then give them the poisoned wine. This would have been quite clever if done in a way that made that understandable. Inside the room is another locked door, a couple of things I couldn't interact with, and a coin operated organ. Use one of the tokens to open the door. The other one didn't seem to do anything, so I'll hold onto it for now.
The nearest bathroom is a considerable walk away a bullet-proof vest and a tommy gun. I know what I'm going to have to do with these things. I'm going to have to kill the five goon squad. Something tells me this is going to be the trickiest part of the game so far...or one of the easiest. This game has been a rollercoaster so far, and the adventure game aspects have not been good. For a game supposedly aiming for a more action-y tone, we haven't had a good time of that yet.

Total Time: 5.5 hours

This Session: 2 hours

Monday, October 26, 2020

Alone in the Dark 2 - Shooting Gallery

When I last left off, I was in a cave. There are quite a few items, a nickel. Reminds me of the dime from the last game. And a hand-crank-

No joke, the second I get the item I fall off. Right away I start laughing. That was just perfect comedic timing. That is the fall to compare all other falls. The developers were smart in their coding too, just cuts to the menu after a few seconds. Was this intentional, or am I just reading this all differently? There's another item perilously close to the edge, a paper bag. At first I think there's something inside, but using it blows it up. Using it again has Carnby saying he's not just here for fun.
Well, we'll find out ten hours later
Two screens over, I find Striker's corpse. Its not exactly a shock, since I did see the intro cutscene. He has a pipe cleaner and the other half of the notebook. In it, Striker explains the plot of the game so far. This is for Carnby's benefit, he doesn't know that. Apparently the papers were wrong, how shocking. One-Eyed Jack is a monster; Hell's Kitchen is full of secret passages; "The solution is in the cards. Remember our poker games."* They also make whisky. Oh, right, this takes place during prohibition...I have to stop that, even if it means destroying their supply one flask at a time.
Just a normal puzzle from the school of bad game design
But first I have to get out of this room. So, the door here is locked, although "Its closed" doesn't exactly cover that statement. Wanna know how you unlock it? Realize that the key is inside the lock on the other side, use the piece of newspaper, use the pipe cleaner, then I get the key. There is nothing telling you this. You have to make the logical jump that that is what's happening. I had to look up a clue to gently guide me to the solution, since I was completely stumped and as soon as someone told me that there was a key inside there, it was obvious. How about an examine feature? This reveals that the piece of newspaper is actually a contract between Sean O'Leary AKA Music Man, and Elisabeth Jarret, "arm of the evil powers". He's immortal and I have to tear this document in his presence to defeat him. Not exactly a deep puzzle we have here.
The clock is in the way because you really don't want to see what I've done to him
I cautiously advance, until I see this fellow. At first, I assume its O'Leary, but I don't see any musical instruments nearby. There's one way to solve this problem. He gets a few shots in, but I manage to beat him. He drops quite a few items, a riot gun, whatever the hell that is in this day and age, another book and more bootleg whisky. First I take care of the whisky, that will trouble no good law-abiding citizen anytime soon. Curiously, this was actually supposed to be a puzzle. Use the brown-paper bag to awaken the guard, then push the lever when he jumps out in front of a previously seen barrel's path. Only problem is I figure this out after killing him and instead kill myself. Nice. The book is relatively pointless, its just talking about how the cook wasn't terribly fond of Jack's executions.

After I eventually don't end up killing myself with a big barrel, the next step isn't difficult to figure out. Use hand-crank on clock, and that opens a wall of crates. The crates were hiding yet another book, more talking about Sean O'Leary, the only thing of interest is that he has an accordian, he's one-handed, and his Vivaldi is slightly fast. There's also a box of riot gun shells. Nice.
About as terrifying as he'll ever be
After I eventually don't end up killing myself with a big barrel, the next step isn't difficult to figure out. Use hand-crank on clock, and that opens a wall of crates. The crates were hiding yet another book, more talking about Sean O'Leary, the only thing of interest is that he has an accordian, he's one-handed, and his Vivaldi is slightly fast. There's also a box of riot gun shells. Nice.
Three guys, bad
With much in the way of choices to go, I go upstairs. A short man screams help. I assume, wrongly, that he's asking me for help, since one of the books mentions that the cook isn't too fond of the others. I'm wrong. It isn't even a fight, the three guys that show up instakill me. And then the burly guy tosses me out to the sea again. I thought I killed him. Oh, well. I've still got choices.
Two guys, fine. Game logic everyone
The next room over is a shooting gallery, or at least its being used as a shooting gallery. There are two armed guards in here...which is really fun to deal with and not in any way whatsoever annoying. After a few reloads I eventually manage to defeat them in a way that won't screw me later. The duo drop nothing, but nearby is another box of shells. There's also a set of cards on the wall and a series of revolving boxes with card suits on them. At first I think I'm just supposed to match them, but that does nothing. Enhancing this puzzle is that you have to shoot the boxes if you want them to move one space, hitting them with one's fists/battledore moves it two spaces, and you can't push it.
Then I figure this is the copy protection thing, only, the cards that solves does nothing here. Oh...good. With no more options, I figure I might as well go for a flush. Which opens the door and another zombie pops out. Thanks...thanks for that fellas.
He was guarding a brewery room, with a flask, a bottle of whisky, two books and a cash register that I absolutely don't need to use the nickel on or anything. After disposing of the devil's brew I get to reading the books. One is about someone called De Witt with masterful skill at billards, and another about the cook, T.Bone who seems much more sinister than the game previously told me. After this I noticed that Carnby was curiously sluggish and had lost a little health. Hang on then, that means that the flasks aren't actually alcohol. I guess the whisky is for a puzzle. So I reload. Now, that register. Upon using the nickel, I get two tokens of differing colors...oh, no...
Dejected, I wander outside of the room back into the gallery. I'm going to have to rush past those big guys on the 1st floor. My plan is interrupted by the appearance of another zombie, this one ignoring me and standing somewhat unclothed, next to a sack. After a few attempts, I defeat him in a satisfactory matter. He dropped nothing, despite having a revolver, a continuing theme in this game. The sack is interesting, as I can search it and get...
...a Santa Claus suit. I think that's a good place to leave off for now.

Total Time: 3.5 hours

This Session: 1.5 hour

*Referencing the infamous card puzzle copy protection

Thursday, October 15, 2020

Alone in the Dark 2 - Mission Impossible

One hour in and starting over again. Not the worst I've ever done on this blog. Probably not even going to be in the top 10 in a few years. I broke down and just got the GOG copy. The opening cinematic now plays some kind of Mission Impossible-style theme as it plays out. Its very suted to the game. When I start up the game, its got some kind of weird funky jazz going on, midi styled of course. Thematically unified, but no consistent style so far. It'll be curious to see how this goes.

Yeah, I'm feeling Carnby here
At the end of the last entry I looked up the opening moments of the game to see if I had messed up as badly as I thought I did. Yeah, mostly. I did learn that I should always use any health items as soon as I see them, so score one for being a scumbag.
This shot makes the callback more explicit
My movement continues as before. The two guards fall to my gun, albeit, they get a shot in. It does four points of damage. Four. That doesn't sound like much, but these guys can stunlock you something fierce. I push away the statue that's blocking off the hedgemaze, and just as I walk in this guy looks at me. Its brief though, I had to back up and do it again.
Its amazing how many different screenshots I took look the same
As I walk in a laughable voice says "Good morning, sir". A ridiculous statement to make. Exactly what is that supposed to be? He shoots me and I barely manage to kill him, I'm down to 27 HP. I had 60 after drinking the flask. This is going to be brutal.
If it looks hard to read here, imagine doing it in the middle of combat
I cautious advance. Caution doesn't work. The next fellow I meet, spouting "Hi guy", gets me. The second he gets on-screen he just stunlocks me to death. I can't hit this guy off-screen. Jesus Christ.
This is the other bit of the death sequence, before getting tossed
I do the starting gunfight again, this time ending with 47 HP. What genius beta-tested this and said it was okay? I can barely hit anything, and the only change is that green sparks fly out instead of white. Its screwing with my aim.
This is useful...?
The first maze guard drops this photo. I don't know what its depicting besides the people I assume are the enemies of this game. I've finally figure out the way to killing these two guys, drag them out of their hidey-holes, then hide around the corner. They can't hit squat, which means they're just as capable of me now. The other guy drops a flask and another Tommy mag, nice.
This ties into a puzzle solution a bit later
I don't know how he didn't see me the second I stepped out from behind the hedge. The room he's guarding is small and an obvious trap. Its not a trap, somehow. It has a rope and the thing does nothing as I walk past it beyond make Carnby fade out of existence.
Spooky, right? It means nothing
I start to get the hang of things. Now that I've figured out how to safely shoot at an enemy, its just a matter of finishing the maze...somehow. Sometimes mice and snakes pop up. I'm not sure if they're hostile or not. But I do get my first bit of exposition. One of the zombies drops a book about a pirate named Shorty Leg, a one-legged pirate. The book is narrated by a pirate that seems enthusiastic in his role. I don't know if this is going to be useful later or not, but you never know with this game.
Top ten anime fight scene right here
I die a few times, sometimes to my own hubris, sometimes not. There's a series of card suits I'll get into in a bit, but first, let me regale you with this game's AI. We all know that its very rare for AI to not have an exploitable flaw. However, this time I got really lucky, not even intentionally exploiting first. Fat zombie approaches, gets close, misses me. So I take advantage and beat the daylights out of him.
I didn't even realize this was a puzzle
Next, a series of cards. There's a hook here, which goes with the rope. Most of which are traps, but one takes me to a dungeon. There's another gun zombie. I burn through my ammo on him, but manage to kill him with my fists. There's a note book, but its torn. Its actually clever, the info it gives is cut in half so its not clear what its about yet. With nothing else to do I move a chest and get a card. Is there going to be a real puzzle soon?
I withdraw any complaints I had about Carnby's combat skills
As I do that an altar rises up behind me and a ghost approaches. Oh, well, might as well try to kill him. So I start kicking him. He's not reaching me. Holy crap, I killed him. I get a sword for my trouble. Hot diggity. Moving up in the world. The rest of the underground cave proves useless at the moment, but I suspect the candles at the altar can be lit later.
For a game I'm complaining about aiming a lot, I sure have a lot of screenshots of Carnby killing things
Back on the surface, I figure this saber can be used against either a face in the hedgemaze I keep seeing or against the hostile roots blocking one of the paths. I reach the roots first. Takes a while, and I'm suspecting they're invulnerable, but they fall to the saber. Then the saber breaks and disappears. You couldn't let me have one thing, could you?
Giving the man some space before crushing him like a bug
Behind the roots is Shorty Leg, at least, it seems a reasonable assumption. Every time he shoots he gets knocked backward, and me without a gun. Takes a few attempts, but I eventually get him into a position where I can punch him to death in an endless loop. He drops a piece of newspaper, I don't know what I'm going to do with that. There's another flask. Now I'm left here wondering how to advance. Despite looking like a piece of cloth, I can do nothing to it.
The statue looks funny, I think they painted that, but I'm not sure
I suppose I could have examined the picture more clearly, but given that I have a rope and a hook I figure this must be the puzzle. I'm right, the door opens.
Once again, a level ends with me in the same place

 As I enter the room, I climb down a ladder. The ladder makes a sound not to disimilar to a stock hammer against anvil sound. I suppose Carnby could be packing steel boots...The ladder eventually gives way and Carnby ends up where the pressure plate took me before. Ah, doing things much it sucks. I still lose my weapons, not that it matters much at this point.

Total Time: 2 hours

This Session: 1 hour