Of course do something fun! Like ... that Sprung cellphone sequel
We'll... we'll see.
Anyway, new content!
Upon arriving in Rio Blanco, Jason runs into El Loco, the gigantic town bully who owns the local hotel....
Four ellipses again?
Anyway, welcome to one of the more annoying chapters of the damn game, "El Loco." Again, my Spanish is... well, not existent, but I'm pretty sure Mr. Crazy is gonna be the focal point of this chapter, right?
No, of course not.
Our more dangerous peril is we're in some backwoods South American town, with no cash. That means, we've gotta find our brother Allen before some serious Deliverance shit starts happening. What? It's the backwoods. Serious Deliverance shit happens there.
There's a couple of noteworthy things here in Rio Blanco. First thing is the wooden pole directly left of Jason. We'll want that. Not sure why, but like all adventure games, it helps to be grabby.
The sign on the Rio Blanco hotel hangs precariously from the atrophied structure. A gust of wind or a pull could easily break it loose.
Note the sign is directly above that guy sitting down in the yellow shirt. For those of you thinking "I bet I can hit that guy with that sign," let's not get ahead of ourselves! We just need a phone. Let's look at this guy.
The big man looks at least 7' tall and has a wild, crazy look in his eyes. He points at the dilapidated hotel and tells you to stay away from the holy temple.
Right. Welcome to the major puzzle of this level: A big dumb guy. Not quite a murderous pilot or a killer robot, but you work with what you're given.
You can examine the well and the cross, if you like, but they aren't important. There's also a canoe here, but we need to contact Allen before anything else. There's only one other item of interest on this screen and it's that cart. It contains:
Cayenne peppers (1000 times stronger than Jalapeno)
Good work, Jason! With a wooden pole and peppers, we're bound to defeat El Guapo (Note: I did not catch this typo until my second proofread, and I'm leaving it in) for reasons that are not quite clear. Anyway, there's a trading post to the right. Head there to meet a new character:
Meet Arturo Ascension! That's his name. Arturo, besides having no speaking lines - written or spoken - is another character the game felt necessary to name. Seriously, even when Arturo does speak, you never hear him quoted. The game just says things like "Arturo would prefer it if you paid for that." Again, I have no idea why Amazon: Guardians of Eden is treating Arturo with such respect, but... hey. More power to you, Art.
Unfortunately, having lost all our money in a pirahna-infested river, we can't buy any of Arturo's random items. Seriously, a fishing net, machete, a paddle, and ammunition? It's like he just typed in random auction numbers into E-Bay and bid until he won. Or his trading post is solely set up for adventure game heroes.
Arturo Ascension watches the post with his one good eye.
Trying to talk to him reveals...
Arturo thanks you for your patronage and urges you to continue browsing at your leisure.
Enough of that, let's head into the house on the lower left.
Welcome to the Nameless Restaurant. I call it that because - unlike Arturo - the game did not see fit to name the staff or patrons. This is especially odd, because they actually hired an actress for the only character you can speak to in here, The Cook!
Cook: Yes, senor?
The cook has terrible JPEG artifacts - in game, I mean - and that's one of the better pictures I could get of her. Even though they had an actress for her, she has exactly two lines. The previous "Yes, Senor?" and one more. Everything else is printed.
Also this is the only conversation in the game where you're not given any dialogue options.
Cook: I am very busy right now. I must prepare this meal for El Loco.
Jason: Who is El Loco?
Cook: He is the large, crazy man who owns the hotel. He is out of his mind and the villagers are terrified of him.
Jason proves himself to be an upstanding hero type and decides to save the villagers from the tyranny of this misunderstood retard.
Jason: Well then, could you tell me where I might find a telephone?
Or not. Fortunately, in adventure games, most everyone has inter-related dilemmas and it's no different here.
Cook: There is only one telephone in the village and it is inside the hotel, but you will never get to use it.
Jason: I'm willing to pay to use the phone. [Never mind that I have no money.]
Cook: That does not matter. El Loco will allow no one to use it. No one is allowed inside the hotel or near the phone. You could be hurt very badly if you tried.
Jason: Surely the man will listen to reason.
Cook: El Loco has always been a bully, being a giant affects some people like that, but he received a kick in the cabeza by a burro six months ago and began to have visions.
This is a big sign that your writer of Spanish-speakers doesn't speak Spanish. She's pretty fluent in English, but doesn't know the words "head" or "donkey". Okay.
Cook: He threw everyone out of their rooms and claimed the hotel as a holy place and only he may guard it. Everyone is forbidden to enter. He says he awaits a message from God so the line must not be busy when he calls. He is loco, senor.
Jason: That's ridiculous. [No kidding.]
Cook: Of course. I must finish this meal.
Jason: How much does he eat?
Cook: I will prepare several servings for him. A man bigger than a house has a huge appetite.
Jason: It must take all day to feed him.
Cook: I'm sorry. I can say no more.
And for God knows what reason, that very last line is also voice acted. I have the feeling Access didn't hire an actress so much as peek outside the hallway and say, "Sheila? Hey Sheila! Drop those reports for a minute. We need you to be in a video game."
Now, there's actually a few items you need to take, but you can't just take them. If you do...
released from a South American prison.
Twenty years later?! Wait a minute, isn't Jason like 20-30? Where'd he get the Gandalf beard from?
Anyway, you'll want to leave and enter so that the sitting patrons disappear. The cook will face the counter when she's preparing food and turn her back to get more ingredients. Now's your time to steal! You can take some items, such as:
1. A half-eaten enchilada.
You break off a small piece of the enchilada. It would be a good idea to wash your hands now. But all the water around here would only make them worse.
I'd love to hear the conversation these guys had previously.
"What do you feel like tonight, Los Lou?"
"El Loco won't let us call for take out. I guess we'll have to hit up the Mexican restauarant. Again."
2. The tip they left for the cook.
You cad! Stealing the cook's tip like that! You're lucky she didn't see you.
3. A zippo lighter left at the other table.
4. A knife from the counter.
Now that we've robbed the place blind, let's try talking to the customers.
"A language you don't understand." Lemme guess what that language could be. EFFIN' SPANISH?! Just to complete the stereotype roundabout, the man all the way on the left is taking "a siesta." Yes, really.
Here's the deal. The fact that
Here's what you do.
Combine your stolen knife with your stolen peppers to make stolen chopped peppers. When the cook is not looking, slip the chopped peppers onto the plate.
This requires waiting. You have to come back and leave to move the loop along so that the peasant boy is coming back and she's preparing (yet another) meal.
Do so and:
El Loco (I seriously keep typing El Guapo) screams and breathes fire. He runs to the well and drinks endlessly. Tada! Access granted.
Welcome to the hotel! Almost nothing is of interest, except the very prominent phone, a rat running in a loop on the stairs to the crack in the wall and a sprung trap.
Well, there's also that painting:
The cheap velvet painting of a Conquistador has sustained water damage.
What is it with velvet paintings? Anyway, the crack in the wall reveals:
Inside the rathole are some chewed up papers, a half eeaten peso note, and a well worn wallet.
Aha! Money! Try to take it, though, and...
As you are reaching for the wallet, the packrat inside decides to add your index finger to his collection.
Jason screams, which means more audio processing work for me. Thanks, asshole.
Take the trap and combine it with your enchilada to make a loaded trap. Place it on the stairway and the rat will spring it in his loop and die. Now you can grab the wallet, which contains 300 pesos. Anyway, manipulate the phone receiver, manipulate the dial, and wait for the phone to ring three times.
Yes, you have to wait. And it takes a bit.
Anyway, break the connection (by manipulating the hook) after the third ring and leave. Hopefully, the next scene triggers. I had to load a save game and change screens a lot before it happened to me.
Go back to the restaurant (El Loco is still drinking from the well) to meet a new character.
Meet Maya! Amazon: Guardians of Eden has this Da Vinci Code thing going. I'm sure you've noticed the controversial allusions to a married Christ throughout? No, what I mean is there's this whole man/woman working together thing going on. Maya is the yang to Jason's yin which would be a nice touch if she didn't end up being a giant pain in the ass for most of the game. Then again, Jason's a complete dipshit, so maybe they are good counterparts.
Again, we have a sorta useless dialogue tree, but this time if you make the wrong choices, Maya leaves and you wander the Amazon jungle for the rest of your life. (And you get the graphic from earlier with the old Jason.)
(Note: Maya is actually identified as "Woman" for this scene, so if you wanna keep spoiler free, don't read the previous few paragraphs.)
Jason: Well, I suppose so. I am supposed to meet someone here. Hey! How did you know I am an American?
Maya: Believe me, Americans are the easiest to spot anywhere in the world. Besides, your brother Allen is an American, is he not?
Jason: Allen! So it's you I'm supposed to meet. Let's go get Allen!
Maya: We will go in time. You must learn patience if you plan to stay in this Country for long. [She's like Yoda: The Travel Guide] My countrymen move slowly but surely. First of all, I must make sure that you are Jason and not an impostor.
"My countrymen." Yes, Maya is one of those blond, fair-skinned South Americans I've been reading so much about.
Jason: Pardon me, it's just that I am anxious to see Allen. Allow me to introduce myself. I am Allen's brother, Jason. I even have the papers to prove it.
Maya: All well and good, but papers can be forged. They are for sale in many places. In Rio, passports can be bought on any street corner. I need to ask you a few questions that only Allen's brother would know.
Jason: Very well, someone as beautiful as you can ask me anything. But first of all, what is your name?
Maya: Quiz me? I have a few questions for you first. What year did your brother win his stock car trophy?
One of the complaints I got for this LP - besides the obscene amount of image data, which I have to admit was out and out stupid - was that I included a lot of seemingly unnecssary item descriptions at the beginning.
Surprise! In order to show you how much Amazon hates you, if you didn't examine those items you won't be able to pass this part! If you missed it, I hope you had an earlier save - or are willing to restart the game and examine stuff in your apartment and Allen's lab.
Annoyingly, this is stuff that Jason - the character, I mean - should be able to answer. I hate it when adventure games give you explicit player/character disconnects like that.
Maya: Very good! How many brothers and sisters do you have?
Jason: 3 sisters and 1 brother.
Maya: Very good! You are coming along nicely, Jason. Now, your brother has a favorite movie. Do you know the title?
Jason: Wild Women of Wongo.
This is actually the only movie you can find associated with Allen (he's got the projector reel in his office, so it's fortunate Jason's brother has such horrible taste.)
Unfortunately, we've a bit of a problem. Well, sorta. El Loco is beating the crap out of the peasant kid for smuggling peppers into his food.
I sort of have this feeling that Amazon intended for multiple endings since you can, technically, just go to the canoe and ignore this - and potentially affect what Maya thinks about you. Even examining it:
El Loco vents his frustration by pounding the young boy to a bloody pulp. You can't help feeling somewhat responsible. But what can you do about it?
Well, fortunately, there's a ladder that appeared out of nowhere you can take.
You put the ladder in your back pocket.
Bullshit, Access Software! Lucasarts made that joke in Monkey Island and you've no business stealing it! Take the ladder, walk to the left side of the hotel, and use it on the wall to climb up. Then when you climb, you'll notice two graphical errors:
Jason is, somehow, "behind" the ladder. He's also already holding a pole. So, this bug pretty much gives you the next part of the puzzle. Use the pole on the sign to bash El Loco with it. Come back down and:
...Well, that's convenient, I suppose. I don't even think I need to comment on that image. Had you ignored this puzzle, you'd get stuck later on. Again, as we'll see next episode, I think this was sort of tacked on.
Head back to Arturo and buy the paddle, machete, fruit, fishing net, and ammunition. All the other items are either promised to other customers, or Arturo is hanging onto them in case of an upturn in the coffee market. That wasn't my joke - the game says that.
(Examine the fruit beforehand, since you can't do so once it's in your inventory. It's actually poison fruit used for killing fish. Yes, really.)
Good bye, Arturo!
For those of you wondering how much money we spent... exactly 300 pesos! Yeah, really. The items have individual prices that happen to add up to exactly how much you have.
Climb into the canoe to end this scene.
Maya leads Jason from the canoe to an obscure ramshackle hut hidden in the trees. The glow of a lantern flickers ahead. Maya and Jason step inside. Seated near a rough hewn table is Allen. Jason is stunned at the sight. Allen looks twenty years older than just a few months ago. On top of that, his face is swollen and bruised as if he has been beaten and his arm is in a sling. Any movement causes him great pain.
Allen: As you know, Allister Research was contacted by Brazilian authorities to investigate reports of amazing forest regeneration in slashed and burned areas of the remote Amazon Basin.
...Wait, when did I learn this? This is news to me! Oh sure, the game makes you cognizant of important shit like that oh-so-awesome stock car trophy, but who needs relevant background information?
Allen: From the first day upon our arrival at the edge of civilization, we were hampered by a certain Colonel Sanchez. There had been reports of savage attacks by 'demonic forces' in the basin and Sanchez insisted upon sending some of his men along for protection, but their real purpose was espionage. We visited several of the reforested spots and investigated every possibility for regrowth, but the only item out of the ordinary was a very slight trace of radiation.
Allen: A guide told us of an unexplored region known in legend as 'Sitio Maldito', 'The Accursed Place'. Supposedly in this spot flowed enchanted waters that held the secret of life, but they are protected by condemned spirits of foolish and greedy men who died trying to discover the 'wisdom' of the gods.
Allen: Intrigued by the legend, we decided to explore this region. We marched for days through nearly impenetrable jungle growth.
[Paragraph breaks added by me.]
Allen: Every morning there were new desertions of frightened men. When Sanchez' [ugh, Sanchez's] men deserted, they stole much of our research information.
Amazingly, the narrative makes the silly intro worse. With just the graphics, it appears Allen is simply sleeping through gunfire. Now he's somehow seeing and hearing all this from a lying-on-his-back position, but not responding to any of it.
Allen: Suddenly we heard a horrible screeching sound. It was as if Satan had loosed all the condemned of Hell back upon the Earth. ["And I am not one to exaggerate"] Then from everywhere came a shower of arrows. I saw the men fall like rag dolls.
"And by 'slid' I mean 'crashed.'"
Allen: Jason, we are on the verge of the most important scientific discovery of our age and I'm determined to make it. Colonel Sanchez is now aware of our work and he will stop at nothing to get it for his purposes. But a discovery of this nature must be protected from men like him. [What discovery? I don't know what the hell it is you discovered!] Maya was doing government research when she found me and now she's willing to help, but we must start now or it will be too late!
Phew. And with that, the game rewards us with more text.
After a few days Allen is feeling strong enough to begin the journey. The three travelers move slowly along a narrow footpath that winds upward through thick jungle vegetation. The ground is rough and broken by gullies and undergrowth. Though no one has been seen, there is the sense they are not alone.
This graphic look familiar? Amazon reuses this "walking through the jungle" graphic for quite a lot.
Allen leads the others along a trail that parallels a river. The sky gets darker and more ominous as a storm gradually overtakes them from the west. A hot, agitating wind rustles through the foliage. Finally they reach a decrepit bridge at the end of a wide gorge. The cliffs tower above the rushing water far below.
A feeling of exhaustion overcomes them as they stare across the gap to the other side. Suddenly, the sound of gunfire cracks through the jungle. Allen turns and looks quickly down the path to the approaching men in army fatigues. 'If they catch us, we're dead.'
Don't miss us next time for "trial and error death puzzles" and the first indication in the game that puzzles amid gunfire is not the wisest game design decision one can make.
Chapter 6 Bonus Reel