The Let's Play Archive


by TheGreatEvilKing, Xander77

Part 54: Mountain Pass of Woe and the end of Pacifism

Mountain Pass of Woe and the end of Pacifism

: Before we head out into the endgame, let’s craft some stuff. The best crafted guns are barely mid-game equipment (the ultimate crafted sniper rifle does 11-17 damage) and you can’t craft melee weapons, but you can create some stuff that uses the Martial Arts skill.

2 Battle gauntlets (each made from 2 spiked gloves, which in turn are made from weighted gloves) 2 Makarovs, wires and a tool box. The final result is:

: Actually worse than the best melee weapon, strictly speaking. But I swear Alexander crits far more often with this. Maybe the damage done by the bullet \ “Martial Arts master” bonuses isn't counted in the weapon stats. Also, you could craft this more or less as soon as you get your hands on a toolbox, rather than levelling up and hoping RNG is on your side when rolling for trader inventory.

: All right, with that diversion over with, let’s head to the Mountain Pass of Woe and murder everyone at the Caravanserai (actually, I tried murdering just the guide, but the game always aggroes everyone around).

: The map allows you to skip the Mountain Pass sidequests and head straight for the bunker.

: To go back to the Wastelands proper, you do need fuel for the car (there’s plenty at the Old Castle).

But that’s just a speedrun option a glimpse of possible future we’ll avoid. Let’s rewind and do things properly. You might recall that the dude that ordered Kovalev murdered fled into the Mountain Pass. In fact, the reason why there was so little content in the pass in the main playthrough is because there’s an extensive sidequest dealing with investigating and follow-

: [As soon as you enter the room you notice an old acquaintance of yours. Wait, what! If it isn't the hustler Artemyev himself! The man who sent the mercenaries to end the former chairman of Otradnoye, comrade Kovalev. Artemyev has also recognized you...]

: Nope. He’s just in a random Caravanserai room.

: I strongly suggest you focus on leaving us alone! Otherwise her blood will be on your hands!

: Go ahead and shoot - I don't know this broad and I don't care. Look at you trying to scare me...

: [The man hesitates and licks his dried out lips nervously]
You... You-re bluffing! You don't want any innocent blood on your hands.

: Hey, boss... I think he's telling the truth...

: Great! And now I am gonna get killed because I got involved with a failure like you, Artemyev!

: Shut up! Both of you!

: Be careful, amigo! We don't want this bastard to kill this poor lady.

: Yeah, that's right! Listen to your friend!

: Ha! Kill ‘em all! It makes no difference, who's guilty and who's innocent...

: [The gangster looks Alexander up and down, swallows a lump in his throat loudly and clenches his fingers stronger on his gun]

: You know, my son could very well open fire at the crowd, comrade... He's a sick man! A man with a broken moral compass. I'd pay attention to his threats if I were you.

: Your son isn't going to do anything! I am sure of that!

: It will be my pleasure to gut you, scum!

: Ha! You would not dare to shoot me!

: I have him at gun point.

: No, big guy, I have You at gun point!

: Chill out! Let's not let this become a full-blown massacre!

: I've said shut up!

: [Speechcraft]: 100 Surrender yourself to the mercy of justice! I promise you a fair trial!

: [Success] You do? Ehhh... To hell with it. I'll try my luck. [The mobster lets the woman go and she quickly hides behind your muscular wide back. You shrug and lock both criminals up in the room]

tl;dr posted:

: Aha! It is I, the most personally involved villain the whole game, the one who slew the one "good" NPC you might have gotten attached to! Our thrilling chase has concluded in a random motel room, with zero effort on your part. But if you totally fuck up every skill check don't let me go, I will kill this random person you've never seen before and will never see again!

: It's a totally chaotic scene! Everyone is pointing guns at each other and shouting! Pulp Fiction in text form, that wouldn't possibly work even if the writing was far better!

: Ok, but how about I don't fuck up the skillcheck and you just surrender?

: Sure. I mean, you don't really have a way to prove I've done anything wrong, and I'm a wealthy and connected guest here, so...

: Keep scrolling for just a few more paragraphs.

: Fuck.

: The old Caravanserai guard is now watching the door. Trying to lockpick aggroes him. Artemyev and his guard don’t have anything further to say anyway.

: [A red-haired sharp-nosed woman is inserting a cigarette rolled from an old newspaper into a long amber mouthpiece with an independent look on her face. It seems that she has completely recovered from the unpleasant incident. The woman takes a short break from the cigarette only to give you a propitious smile]

: Someone has a word of the day calendar out.

[: Hexogen's remark makes the woman giggle politely, she then turns to you making a cuckoo sign]

: You seem pretty calm, considering what just happened.

: This is all just an act. Under this mask I am crying. I am shaking! Because of the unbearable fear and this vile betrayal from a man who swore he is going to love me forever. And, of course, because of unclear prospects for the future...

: Well, this is nice and all that, but what was your connection to this murderer?

: Regrettably, our connection was romantic. This respectable (on the outside) man with a portly frame made me fall head over hills in love with him. I was a simple inexperienced girl from a tiny suburb of Krasnoznamenny.

: One problem with this quest (besides the obvious) is that it's all very "Aniskin as a 1990s Russian action movie". The parody journals are actually better at setting up "Aniskin in a post-apocalyptic wasteland".

: I saved your life! Why are we even talking about the money?

: [Marina squints in disappointment as she starts to pack her things]
If you haven't showed up, none of this would have happened! Damn it! Get out of my way! [The woman lifts her head up high and leaves the Caravanserai at a cracking pace. You follow her with your eyes and nod your head]

: Alternately:

: No problem. Here's a thousand and have a safe trip.

: [Marina quickly takes the thousand rubles from you and starts to pack her things]
Thank you! Thank you very much! I'll pay you back, as soon as I reach Trudograd. l'll mail the money to you. Alright, I'll be on my way. Ta-ta!

: Goddamn, does the game hate women couples women and couples. As to Artemyev and his bodyguard, we now have to undergo a trial sidequest to prove tha-

: Simple as that.

TheGreatEvilKing posted:

: Like this one drug dealer I know... I mean... An experienced mailman, Blue Phil, he introduced himself as Adam to all the cops in Krasnoznamenny. And then one day some Adam feller just materializes out of nowhere, with a knife, a jar full of acid and a couple of question[sic] to my buddy...

: Oh yeah. The Russian word for blue is “Siniyy”. So, Cinephile. That’s the title of Goblin’s movie reviews. I guess that’s slightly better than being cast as a cannibalistic pedophile?
As an aside, nothing about the postman quest here changes if you kill the conspiracy dude without ever talking to him.

: I’d say this is a Metro: Exodus reference, but that came out years later. Weird.

Moving on to the castle proper:

: Weirdly non-racist. Let’s go help the guy ditch his Black Lotus (of course) addiction.

: Marvel – this is exactly the sort of impressive 3d environment Fallout would have a really hard time modeling (and this game practically never uses either). Back in 1997. Also, note the strategic use of Devil's Weed to help a person quit their drug addiction.

: I do appreciate the Possessed trait (which has been irrelevant for most of the game now and which most players will either not get or quickly get rid of) suddenly getting more useful.

: Where are you from, buddy?

: I come from the beautiful souther (sic) city of lzberbash. Ah, life was so good back there... But the oil barons have driven us all out and then the Caspian Sea retreated... So now I'm here instead.

: Metro Exodus once again. Early trailers? Communication with the Metro team?

: Doesn't matter either way.

: What are you doing here?

: Nothing, really... having a break. If you milk a cow all the time, it'll run out of milk eventually. And if you milk it, pocket the milk lie low for a month and then set out to milk it again, it might well last till your retirement..! Don't think I'm a farmer... He who has ears, let him hear.

: I'm looking for our mutual pal, Chigurov...

: [The man squints cheekily, winks at you and says:]
What did you say? Cheburov? Never heard the name.

: [Strength] Did you say you didn't know him? Maybe if I knock a couple of your teeth out, it'll improve your articulation..?

:[Success] [The man winces instinctively and takes a step away]
Argh... Where are my loyal fighters when I want to cut an arrogant freak..? Okay, you can lower your fists. I do know Chigurov, and I respect him in a way, despite his complex of a Wasteland Savior. I saw him some three weeks ago... But all I heard from him regarding his location was that he planned to go into hiding under the very nose of the debt collectors sent for his skin. I mean the bank he had robbed to buy that orphanage off the city of Far Gate authorities, who had planned to demolish it...

: I have some bad news for you. A while ago a group of weirdos, some kind of researchers it looked like, passed through here. They paid me well to make sure that not a single living soul would follow them. Tell me, you don't seriously think you can convince me to go back on my word, do you?

: [Strength] Is your word more important than the lives of all your people?

: [Success] Goddammit! It looks like you're really not kidding around. Hey guys, we have some village tough on our doorstep. Come over here and shoot him!

: Hah. I do appreciate the occasional skill success being a failure (if that happens to be logical).

: That was… kinda subtle?

: I just wanted to ask, do you really live in this tiny tent?

: Yeah, we do. So what? Despite my dear Alina's multiple shortcomings, we love each other. And when you love a man, you don't need money to thrive... A woman, I mean. When you love a woman.

: That wasn't.

: [Strength] Don't make me drag you there by force, girl..

: [Success] Yeah... I see. Someone like you could easily beat up my Arsen.
[The girl unbuttons the top of her shirt, letting out a tiny bit of her breast. Her boyfriend bites at his lips and sticks out his fists]
But first you'll have to kill me! Go on! Tear me to pieces! Only then will I move from this spot and return too my father!

: No problem, I'm always the one for killing. Let's start. [Attack]

: Not really. I imagine this aggroes the castle, but with the agonizingly slow speed of moving around the Mountain Pass, I can’t be bothered to check.

: Or, grosser yet:

tl;dr posted:

: We're young, dumb, and our notion of running away together is obviously doomed.

: Ok, sure.

: But also Arsen is like, so girly and hella gay, haha! Whoever wrote this quest was def thinking in terms of "cucking".

: Ah. That's a lot more gross.

: See the previous post about just how much this game hates couples.

: More stuff indicating that U.S forces were the ones who started the attack.

: I decide to blow the missile up, but neglect to factor in how slow the companions are at moving their ass when you start running.

: :lol:

Back to the fort to turn in the quest, nothing much new. Into the bunker we go.

: Yeah, you can lockpick your way to the Vitinsky. Not sure how much skill is needed – our lockpicker is maxed out.

: This is where a strict pacifist playthrough comes to an end. There’s no way around these guys, and you can’t sneak past them even with maxed out stealth. Shame.

More info about what the Mushroom entity is trying to do. There’s also disturbing note from Ivanenko himself that I couldn’t find it on this playthrough.

: Just for fun, I try taking out the ATOM defectors. Perfectly easy – I’ve got more companions than technically legal I know what to do with, and the enemy has to come through a chokepoint to get to us. But that’s not the pacifist way, even if this dungeon is the first place where our companions HAVE to kill stuff.

: [Fidel turns to you. He looks bewildered and blinks frequently, as if trying to shake off a very deep sleep] Dios mio..! What does it mean..? What happened here..? It feels like I was half-asleep... And this voice... The voice like the rustling of leaves sounded in my head.

: You're so boring, Fidel. What does it matter? There's no rush, we'll deal with it later!

: Is it the worm talking in you, or have you always been so reckless?

: What do you mean, reckless?! I just think we'll cross that bridge when we come to it!

: Alexander, I love you like my own son, but shut up, please.

tl;dr posted:

: What's happening and what should we do?

: We don't know!

: Then let's not worry about it.

: Oh Alexander, you're so dumb.

: That’s all we have at the Mountain Pass, so let’s head back to Foglevka.

: Ufff... We did it. One more thief has been sent on his way to the Higher Tundra. Yeah, I've heard what he was planning to spend the money on. But let me tell you! The good that has been acquired illegally isn't good at all! It's a mockery of the concept. However, let's not get lost in the whole philosophy. Here's the bonus to your paycheck and goodbye.

: Yeah. No dialog, not even a named enemy. I actually messed this one up – you can lie to the bounty hunter three times to get him off the trail of the noble bandit, or you can tell him the truth three times and get this riveting low-level bandit encounter, but trying to mix truth and lies just breaks the quest. So I basically had no choice but to go for this ending.

: We craft 160 bullets. Enough ammo for Fidel to spend the rest of the game sniping. Shame we have to indicate every single priority target manually.

: There’s a specific perk to make shields less terrible. Two perks, actually. Anyway, on to the Dead City.

: This is the bad (generic RPG) rumor writing, with every word being absolutely true while the NPC scoffs. The reference to the goldfish is icing on the cake.

: How much do you think a man's life is worth?

: You need to have someone whacked? Up to a thousand, depends on how difficult the target is.

: [The man's eyes light up and his tight lips curl in a smile]
Now you're talking business! Okay, listen. There's a gang led by a guy called Guber walking around within the city's perimeter. I and many others have wanted him dead for a while now. This piece of shit believes he's the Savior of the Wasteland. He and his sidekicks wander around, shoot a few mutants and gangsters, then pop in to our tent city to put the squeeze on people "for protection and ammunition". Some pay him gladly and thank him, but I'm not happy about it. I know how to avoid mutants and gangsters, so why should I pay these chumps? I'd rather give my money to you, if you can eliminate this wanker.

: And back to semi-decent writing. You could play the Wasteland hero, and Kust here will come up with a sob story about Guber killing his sister. Be a hardened merc, and he gets right to the point.

: Reference overload. I’m familiar with The Norm, which is the exact opposite of the dull realism TGEK is so annoyed by.

: See, totally not Moscow, as Moscow is not a port. Also, we never meet Corsair or discover anything about him, but I’m not sure whether that’s good rumor writing or lack of development time.

: Random best backpack (for a companion \ slave). Dead City has a lot of excellent loot that you can get without encountering any danger. (Edit - you actually have to steal it, and need high stealth. Whoops).

: Like this armor, right at the entrance to the base.

: Why are you so nervous, comrade?

: Also, why do you look like a Civil War officer?

: [The man looks at you with surprise and goes all pale, as if recollecting something horrifying]
It happened a few days ago. I thought I'd drink a few vodkas with the guys, but when I neared the harbor a bullet whistled past my head! And then another one! I ducked into cover. That's when I took out my binoculars and saw Misha Altayskiy shooting at me with his Vintorez! He was shooting, screaming and flailing around like a crazy man! Why would he do that? And who will be next to betray me? Brother... pal, buddy, friend, amigo... Please find out why he did what he did, I beg of you. Not knowing - it cuts me like a knife. I'll even pay you.

: Quit speaking so much. What will I get if l apply for this test?

: Umm... I won't pay you, because I can't. But this substance will most likely give you awesome powers. Isn't that a reward in itself? And if the drug won't work, you won't be worse for wear. Well, you might go blind. But it's a pretty rare side effect. Almost impossible. No chance to go blind at all. Nope. No chance what so ever. It's basically around fifty-fifty.
[The professor looks at the contents of his syringe and licks his dry lips as if thirsty for the substance]
After I added several... Hmm... Very special components to the formula, I became a little bit hooked on the stuff. But you don't need to know such things! So? Will you try this amazing product, my friend?

: Oh child... Please! For the love of God! Do not suck on the teat of this foul man's syringe. Look at him lick his lips. That thing probably contains heroin, the drug that destroyed a generation. A generation of godless capitalists, but still! USSR, by the way, had no drug problem whatsoever. Well, there was one light recreational drug we loved to use. It was love. Love for the country, for your mother, for your neighbors. For the giant lines to the potato store. For comrade Brezhnev's political decisions. Oh... And it takes only so little for love to become hatred. Remember this, my child. Love is a mask hatred wears.

: There's no heroin in the official formula. None what so ever. No heroin. Umm... According to me. People like to badmouth my research. And that includes myself. Some times, when I'm completely stoned by this concoction and I'm stumbling around this place naked, I shriek about my formula actually containing heroin and other terrible, terrible substances... But it's all lies! Lies, I tells ya!

: Wow, Old man Hexogen finally found someone with a similar weird ass speech pattern.

: We’re asked to take a stroll until the elixir kicks in, and on the way out of the station we run into this NPC, cleverly hidden by level geometry:

[: Sticking out a corner of his dry, yellowish tongue, this unshaven man in stalker garb fiddles with a tiny metal cube. He's either trying to crush it in his huge hands or split it in two. Doesn't look like he can make up his mind. When he sees you, he hides the cube in his pocket]
[Personality] I'm a stalker. They call me Killdozer.

: What does that mean? Doesn't sound like Russian...

[: You're right about that. "Kill" is English for murdering a guy, and "Dozer" is the second part of the word "Bulldozer". A bulldozer is like a huge tractor, but way cooler. It's an ideal nickname for me, since I dig through old piles of shit like a bulldozer, and if someone tries to steal my stuff, I'll kick him in the balls until he's dead.

: [The heavier side of the cube does not move. It has "21" engraved on it: You hold the cube 21 up (sic)]
[Press the far side] [You press on the side farthest away from you. The cube clicks nine times. That side stays pressed in. You cannot press it again right now]

: I think you get how this "puzzle" works.

: Right. We now have two different quests leading us back to the harbor, so let’s check things out.

: [With dread in your eyes, you notice a giant myrmic standing before your frame which is tiny in comparison. The monster watches you silently, and every facet of his multi-facetted eyes reflects your scared, wide-eyed face. Finally the silence is broken... By the myrmic!]
Hey there, human.

: Umm... Hi? Who are you? What are you?

: Me? I'm Gosha the myrmic, human. What are you doing in my hallowed grounds?

: These are your hallowed grounds? But where are they? Where am I?

tl;dr posted:

: Would you like to try my abilities enhancing super-serum? It's totally not heroin.

: It was heroin, lol! Have some dull hallucinations!

: Fucks sake. Also, I'm sure Vodkin is a reference to someone or another, but no idea whom.

: In a letter. He told it to me in a letter.

: Something about the phrasing actually works for me here.
There’s no way to get the key via barter or dialog, but I happen to be a pickpocket specialist.

: Bro, why you shooting at other traders?

: Half a year ago I caught a thief in the camp. Her name was Homeless Sonya. I could've let her go after recovering our goods, but I did not. I called the whole camp to join me and we judged her, and sentenced her to death by hanging. People were bored, you know, and many a man had been swindled by Sonya during her life. After she died, someone presented me with her glass eye. Like a souvenir.
That's probably her ghost, stalking me in the night. She's making me anxious, fearful, and dull-witted. She's taking vengeance for the life I helped take from her. But maybe... just maybe... if I put the glass eye with her in her grave, she will vanish and let me be. What do you think?
[The merchant loudly swallows and grabs you by the hand]
Please, do this for me! I will give you all the money I have left! Here's some in advance. Call it payment for finding out what you found out

: I actually have to travel back to the mainland to retrieve the shovel. Googling around, the developers at least claim that Dead City has a shovel for this quest, but I couldn’t locate it.

: [From far away it seems like your new friend, the paranoid, red-haired trader, has covered his lips in glitter. Upon closer inspection you see he is actually drooling, and it's his yellowed spittle glistening in the light]

: Oh hey, another strange serum. +1 to any of our stats (in exchange for either investing in pickpocketing or killing everyone on the beach).

: In game, it will probably be a while between when you first get the “I need to get rid of the competition” tirade and when you get back to the quest. And to be honest, I was a bit past the point of paying much attention to what NPCs said. The sheer volume of text helps hide the plot twist.
Quick visit to the three-breasted hooker:

: Hexagon and Galina (who usually can’t both be in your party at once) get a Morte-style perk. Finally, let’s end the update by wrapping up the conspiracy questline.

: Fast forward some more…

: Jeez, how many Luck combat resolutions depend on expired food products?

: That does leave Satanovski and Fancy Pants around (as well as Shpak, if he lives \ you haven’t sided with Hook). How about a less violent solution to the problem?

: Perfectly pacifist, as all things should be. Next time – remaining Dead City stuff and the endgame.