Part 15: Fifteen Shades of Gameplay
: It was a very... informative evening.
: Alfred probably had to sleep on the roof, seeing that Cathryn hasn't changed her outfit in nearly three weeks.
: I hope you find your friend. If you need anything while you're here. Come to me at any time. And remember what I told you about the mines. Be careful.
: Yes, of course. I have my boys. They'll look after me. (pauses) I have to go now. See you again later perhaps.
: Here I missed out on trying to talk to the guard who moved to the right. No big loss, the main changes happen on the other screens.
: Hmm... He seems to be patrolling round...
: The customs guy is patrolling the streets now. Every time I enter this screen I'm locked out of the controls until he walks away again and the cutscene finishes playing.
: When he gets behind there, I'll have a few seconds free of him.
: The same shit happens here only the cutscene involves his feet and his shadow briefly walking into the very top of the screen. Oh, and the "few seconds" is actually more like a minute or two. I'm not sure the guard can even come back until you re-renter the screen. You can't fail, that would require the developer to code and write a failure cutscene.
: At last!
: You could do a lot with that... if you laid it in the right place.
: You know, it's not common to explicitly label landmines as "contact". However, contact mines are a traditional category of naval mines, and you all know what they look like: the stereotypical big metal ball with rods sticking out of it.
: I'm guessing the original script did expect Cathryn to pocket a naval contact mine, and then the artist came in, showed them a photo and asked "Are you fucking insane?" So they had to replace the visual with a more portable device.
: Careful with it...
: We use the mine on the brand new hotspot that appeared only today.
: It smells particularly strongly here...
: No shit, it's a pool of it. Although why don't you lick it to check?
: Cathryn sets the now invisible mine down.
: The mine shows up only when she stands up and starts talking.
: But how could you ignite it..? Maybe Alfred can help me. And I'll give Mike a call tonight.
: Well, the TM-46 has a pressure fuse which could be triggered by a blind guard weighting over 120 kg, and, optionally, a "fuck you, bomb disposal guy" fuse which triggers when the mine is lifted from the surface it rests on.
: All this pointless messing around with a mine was absolutely necessary to advance the plot, by the way.
: Come here a minute. Let's have a little chat.
: Look. My saviour from yesterday. Good evening!
: I do. My doctor has recommended it. The old bones need a little exercise. And you? Are you having a nice time here with us? Did everything go OK with the accommodation?
: Yes, everything's fine. It's really... interesting here. And the beach is wonderful... Only with all the soldiers it's a bit unnerving.
: Well, yes, I know. I don't especially like the military. All the shouting orders, the dreary uniforms, the marching... Soldiers are simply... boring! But we need them. History has taught us that much.
: I don't think so, little girl. Tell me, what brings you here? Are young girl here from England on her own. That's brave. Unusual.
: Oh! Well, you know, I just kind of set off. Rather spontaneous. I'm er, looking for something, you could say.
: Ah my word! Looking for something... Aren't we all! And? What are you looking for then? For knowledge? Recognition? Friends? Life's big goal?
: A bit of each I guess.
: Yes. I can understand that. That's what bonds us. What do you do in England? Study?
: I've already done that. Art and art history.
: Like Starbucks, arranging cans in a shop, or even writing bad games.
: Exactly. There's nothing in my way for a successful career in the industry.
: Except for a complete lack of talent and common sense.
: Ah, you're young. You've got plans, for sure. What are you going to do with all the studying? What are you going to do with your life?
: (pauses) And you... What do you do? You seem to be a man who commands some respect here.
: You know what, little lady. I'd very much like to show you.
: Oh, that's really nice of you... but er, I don't know, if er...
: Please, you can rest assured that I'm just a harmless old fool who would just like to chat and show off his house.
: At this point he convincingly breaks into creepy laughter. See the video.
: Well then. That makes the offer irresistible.
: Come on then.
: That's your house..?
: Does that mean...
: It's impressive that Mike couldn't find a single photo of that dictator guy.
: Come come. We can chat more while we eat.
: But it's way cool. It's got a cable car. Your architect really went to town.
: Come my dear. We have to take the cable car. It does sway a little...
: Cathryn walks in gawking.
: Very much.
: It's...just amazing.
: Can I have a look around?
: But of course.
: There are actually only two or three spots the check in the whole area.
: Where do these stairs go to?
: Oh, that's the access to my landing pad. I have a helicopter, you know.
: Your very own helicopter. Now that's cool. In case you need to leave quickly, then?
: Yes it is. In my position, that can happen faster than you think.
: You still haven't told me what you do.
: You... You're Raila Elengi. This republic's president.
: Does that disturb you?
: His leg disturbs me though.
: No, as long as we're not enemies.
: Ah, now that sounds rather sinister. You have a lot of enemies, don't you?
: Oh yes, a lot. My life has always been defined by struggle.
: And... Don't you want that to stop?
: Yes, I would like it to stop. But I didn't go looking for my enemies. They came looking for me. If I want peace from them. I not only have to fight them. I have to win.
: Moving on...
: This map here... Does it show the island..?
: Does it?
: Yes, precisely. Although it's one of the oldest maps, it's also one of the best. Strange isn't it?
: And these little symbols, they look like they've been drawn in at a later date.
: I'm surprised I can hear most of this. It's mainly thanks to the soundtrack going into Apocalypse Now night time themes i.e. someone plucks a random guitar string every few minutes.
: That's what my ex-boyfriend always used to say.
: And what did you reply?
: Well, that I'm just... 'interested'.
: Interested. Of course. I've just had the minefield added to the map. The one we had laid around the island. It would be rather stupid if I had to to leave the island by sea and didn't know myself where I should be sailing.
: That's true. So why did you have everywhere mined here?
: Oh yes, well we didn't want to wake up one morning to find a whole British or American army standing on the beach.
: And what would they want? There really isn't much here.
: You're very amusing. You're also correct. If I wasn't here, then there wouldn't be anything at all. And there are people that really do wish for that.
: Do you live in fear of that?
: (pauses) Of course I know fear. Not to know fear, is to be an idiot. Bravery is recognising your fear and knowing how to tame it.
: I've already heard that.
: Most definitely. The advantages of a humanistic European education.
: That was all of the map chat. There's one more spot left. Oh, and we can't leave.
: I can't just simply run off. He's invited me.
: This curtain is beautiful... What's behind it? Can I look?
: After we've eaten perhaps
: Ooh, a secret, yes?
: Exactly that.
: The excitement's unbearable already.
: You wish.
: I'm sorry, has someone told the voice actor to make Elengi sound fabulous and playful? Because his voice goes there.
: So, have you seen enough, little Tracy?
: Honestly? I could look around here for hours on end.
: I like you. Your interest is genuine. You don't come across that so often.
: Oh thank you.
: The compliment needn't make you feel uncomfortable. You must surely be hungry?
: I'm starving. I didn't think you were going to ask again.
: Oh dear, I really am a monster. Come, let's sit at the table and I'll have something brought to us.
: Elengi's walking animation has a limp, but it plays so fast it's ridiculous.
: Some time later he just barely sits down, and talking is the only available action. Before that there's the video of Elengi's playful chat about the curtain.
: What did they eat? Why the hell are the fork and the knife on the same side of the plate?
: Beautiful shot framing.
: The black dumplings... What were they made from?
: You liked them?
: Mmm... and how.
: From Scarab beetles. Delicious, yes?
: Nonsense! They were truffles! You really must have a terrible picture of me!
: Phew! You gave me a bit of a shock there.
: You thought I'd do that?
: Ah no... er yes... I don't know. I hardly know you.
: What makes you think that?
: I feel it. Are you afraid of me?
: No... a little, perhaps.
: You've read where I come from? You know what this republic here is about?
: Well, yes... I read a few things before I came out here.
: And? Do you believe what you've read about me?
: I'm not sure.
: Then ask. Ask away and I'll answer all your questions. Every one.
: I did read that you were an art collector.
: Yes I am.
: But I hardly see any pictures in your house.
: You're a good observer. There ARE pictures in this house. I've only been collecting for a few years. But my collection is... unique.
: So how do you collect? Particular periods? Particular artists?
: That's a good principle.
: That it is. But then I became... more selective.
: Could you become louder? Elengi's half whisper is drowning in crickets.
: Aha. And like how?
: Did you know that in our country we believe that every picture has a soul. And not only the one that you might see of the person in the picture. But also a soul that belongs to the owner of the picture itself. There is always a spiritual connection between the picture and its owner.
: That's a very beautiful... concept. And not so far removed from one I have myself.
: And now..?
: And now I collect the ones which give me the deepest gratification. Do you understand that?
: I don't know if I do exactly.
: Look, now I'm scaring you again.
: About your country... The 'old' Republic of Surinawa.
: What happened there? I mean, I have read a little of the history and...
: ... I play a somewhat inglorious role?
: Well yes.
: Yes I know. History is always written by the victors. That is the heart of the imperialist ideology.
: And how does your version read?
: Surinawa was always a very proud country. British colonial rule almost ruined it. The British plundered our mines and subjugates our people. They could hardly expect that there would be no revolt. When we became independent, the natural resources became ours once more. Precious metals, uranium and ores gave us back our prosperity and our republic became a rising African state. But then the colonial rulers returned. Only this time in the form of mining corporations. This could have been the second expropriation and I was not going to allow it. We defended our land with an iron fist. Against not only the invaders, but also against the many traitors and collaborators within our midst.
: You had them killed.
: We did what was necessary. We had the choice to either fight, or suffer servitude for a second time.
: You say that you did what was necessary. Do you also think that it was... right?
: What's necessary is also right. And what's right becomes necessary.
: Things that are necessary and right, must also be done. With severity and anger. And if it has to be so... with hate also. Unrelenting and without pity, with resolve and burning with hatred. That's how we have to fight. In the service of truth and justice.
: ...you must make a friend of horror. Horror and moral terror are your friends. If they are not, then they are enemies to be feared.
: That sounds quite terrible.
: The truth can be brutal and also painful. You can't always have it both ways, as many Europeans love to think. Sometimes the only option is to have one or the other. To decide for one thing, and let the other thing go.
: You're not saying anything anymore, Tracy. I'm scaring you and I don't want to do that.
: I don't know what to say.
: Because it sounds so awful?
: All of us have to decide. You, me, all of us. Life doesn't wait for us. It comes AT us... and we have to decide.
: Can I ask you something else?
: But of course.
: Why did you invite me here?
: (pauses) There are two answers. I don't like eating alone. That's one. I enjoy company. It's nice to have someone around.
: So you're always alone then? You don't have a wife, or any children?
: I'm a warrior, Tracy.
: But that doesn't mean...
: Did he get something shot off or what?
: I once had a wife, yes. And a daughter.
: Where are they both now?
: She found my methods... unacceptable. She was weak. The fact the she went, wasn't a loss to me. It was the right thing.
: And your daughter..?
: Probably found his methods unsound.
: (pauses) I don't know where she's living. She turned against me. Many years ago now. I don't have a daughter anymore. You understand?
: Yes, I understand that completely.
: It's not such a rare thing... I have a business partner, he has an armaments business. The situation is just the same with his daughter. She's become a criminal. And hates him with a passion.
: He's an... arms manufacturer..?
: Arms, legs, noses - all kids of prosthetics.
: Perhaps that's why.
: Yes! That's quite possible. What do you say to him?
: I tell him to forget her.
: Yes. Maybe that's the only option.
: I have to think about all this. I'm tired.
: I don't know if that really...
: ... would be right? But yes. Don't think about it You can sleep in my daughter's room.
: I thought she'd... left you.
: Yes, but I've always kept a room for her. In case she...
: ...wants to come back.
: You graphics really suck, if you have to subtitle a nod.
: (pauses) So. That's enough of the sad stories. I still wanted to show you something. Are you still keen?
: That depends on what it is.
: My collection.
: Oh yes, I want to see that. Most definitely.
: I thought so. Then come along.
: I could leave this for the next update, but let's take a peek now.
: The Churchill portrait is the obvious plot trigger. Let's quickly examine the rest.
: How do you know there are cells there? It's locked.
: Damn. It's locked...
: Told you so. What about the painting above the door?
: So we weren't the only ones who Elengi commissioned to carry out thefts. I wouldn't like to know what happened to our predecessors.
: That's the comment for paintings on the left. Cathryn is even more excited about the right batch.
: If these are the originals here, they'll be worth a fortune.
: And now it's time for the armoured glass window.
: Wow! You can see right into the inside of the volcano through the glass wall.
: INTO THE WHAT?
Right, the next update will be the last. Any guesses on what the ending will be like? Except for stupid and disappointing, that's a given.