Jason and Maya inadvertantly find themselves traveling upriver with slave traders. Jason has been knocked off the boat and Maya is being held captive to be sold.....
FIVE ellipses. Wow. That's some serious pause.
I think the thing with Amazon is that, like a good video game, it gets harder as it goes. In most cases, this is preferred - but the problem is that Amazon does this with cheap shots. As you get going, there's more insta-deaths, more "do things exactly right with respect to order and timing or else", and - as we'll see - more chances of missing items from earlier in the game - which means you have to reload state and do all the crap that you went through all over again.
Case in point, the entirety of Episode 8.
To make these updates, I record a lossless video, grab frames from it, cut sections, etc. I have the walkthrough memorized (the game's actually fairly short) so I'll just hit record, play for a bit, and stop. Chapter 8 took about 20 minutes and 17 seconds to complete and I died four times.
That doesn't sound terrible, but keep in mind this is an adventure game. If you already know the puzzles ahead of time - and in my case, just played through the game a previous time before starting the thread - you really shouldn't die at all. Maybe once because you forgot something. In this case, I died because I screwed up the near perfect timing necessary on no less than four occasions.
In other words, if you like, re-read this relatively short update when you're done and try to imagine how it could take TWENTY minutes, real-time, to finish. I'll attempt to illustrate how.
Jason follows the ship from shore until the Captain stops for the night. Jason must devise a rescue plan for Maya...
Jason's first problem is the ship's first mate, Sam Salvadore. You can see him toward the bow (or front, if you're a landlubbin' jerk) of the Amazon Queen. Walking from behind these bushes shows that Sam is a perfect shot - you're given the graphic of Jason clutching a bullet wound again.
We have to do this Solid Snake style, so the trick here is to just wait. It takes Sam around thirty seconds to complete walking on your side of the ship to disappear into the background and patrol the other side.
Sit here and wait for thirty seconds and tell me if that is a fun thing to do that should be in a video game.
I'm not exaggerating, it really takes half a minute.
You need to do the next part quickly. The Amazon is infested with "plot-friendly/puzzle-foe" pirahna - a special breed that leaves prey alone when said prey is involved a plot-specific cutscene, such as Allen floating on the river or Jason being knocked off the boat. They're "puzzle foe" because when they can be used in a puzzle, they're especially ferocious.
Fortunately, you bought the poison fish-killing fruit from Arturo in Chapter 6.
That works. Now, if you're like me, you may think that in order to swim to the Amazon Queen, you can just walk into the water, except Jason will (somehow - it's not really explained) be spotted by Sam if he just swims.
The trick here is to take the reeds from the lower-right corner and walk into the water. Don't get stuck on usual adventure game stuff like trying to use the reeds on the water first: just walk in! Also, because of the strong current, you'll have to do this from the right side of the screen or Jason won't enter.
Dilly-dallying will make Sam "Perfect Shot" Salvadore round the corner and net you Game Over before you see him coming.
If everything went well, you'll find yourself here on the ship's ladder. Now, wait another 30 seconds for Sal to go to the background part of his patrol route to climb aboard.
Welcome aboard! SAVE YOUR GAME. Without a Soliton radar system, Jason has to rely on the fact that Sam is circling the two cabins of the ship in an endless clockwise loop. Getting anywhere near Sam - even when his back is to you - is, of course, fatal.
The first thing you'll want to do is grab that fishing pole on the deck to the left. Then take a look into that window in the cabin.
It's the Captain, asleep with his gun. Okay.
You'll want to move fast here. Fortunately, you got the item you need for this puzzle about a second ago. Grab the keys with the fishing pole, hit exit and be prepared to run.
This is the midway point of the ship - you'll want to "hide" on the left side when Sam comes onscreen until he passes by. There are two important crates on the ship and here's one of them. Open the left crate to find...
Harpoons! The cabin at the top of the screen contains Maya, and we have the keys to unlock it, but we have to take care of Sam first or, again, instant death.
Whoa, there he is! Thank God for my eagle-eye view of everything.
The problem is that Sam's pre-determined patrol route takes him between the cabin at screen's bottom and the two crates. In order to expose him to danger, we'll have to push a crate marked 'Cuidado' ('Danger' or 'Warning', I believe).
There's also a harpoon gun right on the bow of the ship. Manipulating it makes Jason rotate it into the awkward angle you see here. You can't rotate it any further. So, by corralling the patrol route this way, Sam walks in and by manipulating the red trigger (which is, again, literally only a pixel large) we can fire a harpoon!
You only get one shot at this - if Sam is onscreen, there's no way to run and get another harpoon. Also, you need perfect timing - a second too early and you'll miss - a couple seconds too late and he shoots you.
About here is good.
You fire the harpoon directly into the chest of Sam Salvador. The impact throws him off the boat and he quickly sinks into the murky water.
Jason's got his second kill of the game!
Now you're free to go back to the cabin, and unlock it to save Maya! Well, almost. As soon as you're through the door...
The Captain groggily wakes from a restless sleep and notices the keys are missing from the table. As he stumbles from the cabin, he sees the lifeless body of his first mate slowly drifting downriver. The answer is clear. Jason has come back for Maya. He pulls the hammer back on his pistol and quietly approaches the first mate's cabin...
As if you weren't angry enough about the stealth section, we've got a timed puzzle. The first thing to do is to manipulate the bar to keep the Captain out.
Maya will periodically say "Hurry, Jason!" which is really more annoying that anything. Even worse:
See that bullet hole in the door? The captain is randomly shooting through it. The idea is that if you are moving - no matter where you are - when a gunshot goes off, you are dead. This is the annoying adventure game equivalent of "Red Light, Green Light."
Since you've no idea when the captain will shoot, the best idea is to wait for a shot, then run around for a few seconds making a makeshift Molotov cocktail.
It turns out that if you talk to Maya or look outside the porthole on the right, the crate marked "cuidado" contains gunpowder. That's handy.
"Slowbeef, did you say Molotov-"
Combine the rag below with the bottle of rum on the cabinet in the background. Combine that with the lighter you stole in Episode 6 (you got that, right?) to make a Molotov Cocktail.
"Slowbeef, are you going to set off an explosive in a small wooden room that you're locked in?"
The makeshift Molotov cocktail falls onto the crate of gunpoder. The results are immediately gratifying as the whole crate bursts into flame.
Captain: Fire on deck!
The Captain presumably leaves. Jason's face is - somehow - not burnt. Trying to manipulate Maya:
Maya: You're not man enough... yet.
Whatever, lady. You can't untie her ropes - you need to use the knife (that you used to cut the peppers) on her ropes. Yes, we did buy a machete from Arturo. No, it does not work. I don't know why.
Finish off this horrible puzzle by lifting the bar and opening the door.
Though you're no doubt aware I'll provide video of the explosion, uh... with the low framerate, I kinda just did.
Jason: Of course I did. I need your help.
Maya: I knew all men were pigs!
Any of you who are wondering what Maya's going on about, keep in mind that the lunacy is really in the next two sentences, which I cannot fucking believe were once actually written.
'Just like a woman!' thought Jason. 'You risk your life to save them from slave traders and yet they are never happy... go figure...' But, concern over Maya's remark about men being pigs would have to wait. Deep in the jungle with no sign of civilization in any direction, they are lost. Worse, they have no supplies and no hope for finding any quickly.
For two days they march aimlessly through the thick undergrowth. Jason grows more anxious each day but Maya seems strangely unconcerned. In the afternoon of the third day, a fire could be seen flickering ahead. As they approach, the outline of several thatched huts becomes apparent.
As you can tell from the portraits in the top two corners, this is another Jason/Maya teamwork scene. As you can guess from the fact that the game is pretty lousy, we're already in a timed puzzle.
Here's the fucked up part. While Access probably wanted to do some gender equality type thing here, they fuck it up. You can complete this entire puzzle as Jason - which I'd recommend since it's just easier. You can't do this as Maya.
After a few seconds, this happens:
Maya: The medicine man is attending the young boy who is very sick. The medicine man is upset by our presence. Some of the villagers believe we are the fair skinned gods of their legends. He is telling them that we are demons sent to kill the boy.
Maya: The medicine man demands that we show the people of his village a sign that we are gods. If we do not, they will split us open and cook our intestines in their food pot.
Yeesh. Speaking of acts of God, it'd be great if a crate of fireworks just came out of nowhere.
WELL, WHAT DO YOU FUCKING KNOW.
Use the fishing net you bought from Arturo and voila. You've got fireworks. Throw them on the fire and...
Fucking fireworks display. Had you failed to do this and ran out of time, you get a pretty gruesome picture, actually.
Maya: the natives are impressed by the display of fire but the medicine man is still skeptical. He says to prove we are gods we must heal the sick boy. If we do not, we will be killed.
Examining the sick villager reveals:
Young Txukahamei Indian, weak with jungle fever, lies near death.
Okay, see the plant on the right here? This is what Maya is good for. If you examine it as Jason, it's just a green plant with purple flowers. When Maya examines it:
The flowering blossom of this plant is known to have special curative powers when combined with fish oil and boiled in lime calcified water.
So basically right now, Maya is only good for getting the parameters of this "recipe list puzzle". I have to apologize to any feminists reading this, because the game really just kinda gets worse from here on out.
I mean it's not like there's a "make Jason some eggs" puzzle or something, but...
At any rate, you're now timed. Fortunately, you got the lime calified water from the gerrycan in Episode 4. Move the rock onscreen and a worm - seriously consisting of about 5 pixels - inches toward the river. Grab it before it does.
Combine the fishing pole with the worm. For reasons that are not quite clear, Jason is the only one who can catch a fish... so just do that, I guess.
Grab the plant over on the right. You might want to switch characters here because there's not much room to move around and one of them might get stuck - the game has a pretty horrid concept of which areas are walkable. Anyway, move the pot over the fire, add the gerrycan to it, then the fish, then the plant. Use the ladle on the pot.
You might get a warning that the shaman is growing impatient, which just serves to remind you that this puzzle is a pain in the ass.
Use the filled ladle (you'll have to go back into the inventory since after using the empty ladle on the pot, there's a bug in the game and you'll still have an empty ladle selected - even though it doesn't exist anymore) on the kid.
You gently lift the boy's head and help him to sip the liquid from the ladle. The effect is dramatic. The boy's fever disappears and he slips into a restful sleep.
As a result of their efforts in healing the young Indian boy, Jason and Maya are given supplies and a canoe. One of the villagers gives them advice on traveling the river. At the first branch, go left, at the next two branches, go right. At the following branch, go left. Avoid the sharp rocks in the river.
The two travelers are now equipped to continue their journey in search of Hans Stroheim....
Tune in next time for the worst mini-game ever created. No, really, this is absolutely horrible and will probably keep you from finishing the game. I'm serious. It is really orders worse than anything we've seen before.
Chapter 8 Bonus Reel