The Let's Play Archive


by gatz

Part 15: A Bug in the Web

Update 14 - A Bug in the Web

Sorry, Shock.

O.K. by me. I don't think I'd like workin' for ya anyhow.

Like I said, I'm not positive that we're going to be ambushed before we finish the game.

We also will decline Coover Tristan's offer to join our party, but we might as well wrap up that side quest.

Take Object posted:

Coover Tristan takes the Multichannel Transmitter.

As Bogart once put it, "This could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship." I want to see you in action, Stark. Let me hang with you for a while. See what you're made of. How about it?
Make up your mind, Stark. You were the one who wanted an alliance. Look, sometimes you can find me here. Maybe I'll still be interested in joining up with you.

Others have pointed out that it seems a little pointless to do this whole soul blades quest, but it's actually required. If we don't do it, the game won't progress after a certain point.

We'll head one screen over to place the beads next to Cyril Thorpe.

Now that that's done, we need to go back to Cyril's WELL, MEDIUM, and have a conversation with him.

The only reason we're given a choice is because this has some sort of time limit. I'm not sure how long it is, or if it even exists.

Now let me concentrate . . . I'll hold it. . . I have it. It's running through me. . . Need blood. Thirst for blood . . . Go. Do what you gotta do, Stark. . . The vulgar walk with a profane flush on their skin. . . Leave. I have stifled it. And evil this great is requiring a great deal of my psionic energy . . . Flesh. Just meat on bones. Want . . to drink of it. All are my prey . . . Go. It is done . . . .

I dislike this puzzle since it involves too much running around. Don't forget what we had to do to get there, with that crossword puzzle. Will the reward be worth it?

There are multiple ways this conversation can go, according to the dialogue files, but only one is actually implemented.

Let those who stand for bonding attend. Do you swear to the Jehovah, to the God of Moses, the God of Abraham, the God of Cavalry that you will wield this blade only in the name of the holy and against the enemies of the Lord's true church? And do you ask the Lord for his grace that your faith in him might grow?

Before this line, there should have been more dialogue:

Unimplemented Dialogue posted:

I'm a vampire killer, just like you boys. I have this energy blade to use against the vampires, but apparently I need you to perform some kind of bonding ceremony. Is that right?
I sense little faith in you, young man. I shall perform the ceremony, but there is little chance the soulblade will prove an effective weapon in your hands. Do you swear to the Jehovah, to the God of Moses, the God of Abraham, the God of Calvary that you will wield this blade only in the name of the holy and against the enemies of the Lord's true church? And do you ask the Lord for his grace that your faith in him might grow?
Ahhh, yeah. I mean, I do.
Do you recognize the crucifix and the cross--whose symbol our order wears into battle--as proof against the evil ones, as your standard in battle? Do you accept this former instrument of torture and defeat as a symbol of hope and victory?
I do.
Concentrate then. Focus your will on the blade. Open your heart and mind so that spirit might meld with technology, that the coupling of the ancient and mystic with the modern and scientific might fashion the weapon by which the beasts are slain. Concentrate! Believe! And it is done, but the bond, like your faith, is weak. This weapon may not slay the one you hunt.

That's a relic from a time where the faith skill actually affected your ability to use the soul blades. There's also a line of unimplemented dialogue that shows that, at one point, there was going to be a choice of who gets to have the soul blades bound to them:

Unimplemented Dialogue posted:

Which of you will undergo the bonding? Those who would wield the blade must hold it during the bonding for only they will be able to call upon its full energies.

Instead, all of the blades can be used by anyone we bring into our party, and they're (as far as I can tell) only affected by the Blades skill. Here's how the conversation actually goes:

Let those who stand for bonding attend. Do you swear to the Jehovah, to the God of Moses, the God of Abraham, the God of Cavalry that you will wield this blade only in the name of the holy and against the enemies of the Lord's true church? And do you ask the Lord for his grace that your faith in him might grow?
We do.
Do you recognize the crucifix and the cross--whose symbol our order wears into battle--as proof against the evil ones, as your standard in battle? Do you accept this former instrument of torture and defeat as a symbol of hope and victory?
We do.
Concentrate then. Focus your will on the blade, open your heart and mind so that spirit might meld with technology, that the coupling of the ancient and mystic with the modern and scientific might fashion the weapon by which the beasts are slain. Concentrate! Believe! It is done. May the Lord protect you in your battles.

Now, all of the soul blades we had in our inventory are blessed. That's why it's best to raid the armory before getting the soul blades blessed.

Anyway, remember that side quest about getting an old book about Çatalhöyük? We were warned that there were vampires in the library, but now that we have access to blessed soul blades, we can take them on without fear.

Location posted:

The New York Public Library has been abandoned by the city and the public. In a remote room of the archives, two strange women have taken shelter. Among the toppled shelves, these bewitching women live during the day, going out at night to find an unsuspecting victim to take home with them.

Odd the the location description doesn't mention that figure near the back left of the room.

As soon as we enter the area, those two girls by the entrance confront us right away.

Shada posted:

You see two women. Each exudes passion and danger, their bodies forever hard and young beneath the deathly pale skin you recognize as one sign of the vampire.

I say we love it, Necra. Take it in our arms and legs and squeeze it. And kiss it and nibble. And nibble.
Big bites, Shada, Shada. Tears and gulps, rending and grinding. Let's hang him because they get all stiff when you string them up.
Watch your step, girls. I know your game. Take a look at my skin. You see what I am? You don't want my blood.

At this point, the instapigment has not worn off. I wonder why BloodNet is such a mess, but that answer will probably never be answered.

Tough guy, Shada. Tough. He's confident. He's not afraid.
Let's scare him then, pretty Necra. He should weep in fear at us. Make him weep and beg.
You turn, Shada, Shada? No lovey-dovey now?
I still want to lovey, lovey, lovey him. Let's love him and hate him. Pamper and hurt him. We can do both, of course.
Not yet. They may be able to help us.
They think they're tough and rough, Shada. Let's kill them. Let's do it.
But he's a sweet one. Let's kiss him instead. We can always kill him. Let's enjoy him first.
Not with this one, Shada, lusty Shada. This one mean and willful. This one need fixed.
No. Necra always want to bite and kill. Shada always giving in to you. He should squeal before he screams. And he is not alone. The others could hurt us while we feed.
You lucky, lucky. Shada and Necra must agree before they can bite. But linger, linger here, sweet one, and we will bite and suck at your neck.

Sounds like they need someone else to prod them into attacking us...

Looks like trouble. Run away. I'll do my best to fight these two off, even if I have to wrestle them both to the ground.

If you have the sound on (Meaning the dialogue is voiced. There's no way to have both the subtitles and speech on at the same time), Charley doesn't voice this line, and it doesn't trigger for whatever reason. In both cases, Charley doesn't actually fight them. There's no reason for him to do it, anyway.

Let's talk to that figure near the back.

Kate Olgathistle posted:

An older woman with a grandmother's body but with a ghastly, vampiric features glares obscenely at you. She shrieks and hisses in wild unrestraint.

Hey, we heard about Kate in Part 9.

Part 9 posted:

An old woman, Kate Olgathistle, used to run a pill shop in the Bowery, but the real action was in the rear parlor. She had shelves of obscure tinctures, ancient totems, and dusty, unlabeled bottles of dried leaves and powders. Some of us would go there regularly to learn the secrets of the ancients. Used to, that is, until the vampires got her.
Vampires? You're certain it was vampires?
Certain. Shop was fire-gutted, and the cops never found her body, but we know it was vampires. Kate knew things about them. Knew exactly what they were, knew how to summon them, and she knew how to kill them.
So this is all rumor? You haven't actually seen a vampire.
I'm getting to that, dear. I need books. I collect books. The library still has within it old books that have never been digitized, books that reveal the ancient ways. Kate suggested that Brick and I scrounge there for an eighteenth-century text on lycanthropy. It was on that hunt in the former public library that we encountered two women--creatures really--vampires. They were the most sensual beings I'd ever met. We were bewitched, spellbound by their allure, their danger, by bodies that rippled and pulsed with erotic energy. They took us one at a time. Believe me, dear, I've copulated with all kinds of people, in all types of formations, but this. They drained my blood. I've got the scars to prove it.

The tacit admission from Wyche is that he and Brick were seduced by those two vampires who look like they have the bodies of children.

...Anyway, what's up with Kate?

You're Olgathistle? Aren't you supposed to be dead?
I'm over all that now. Why did you summon me?
I didn't plan on summoning anybody. I thought Gibbon was conning me about this amulet.

Keep in mind that we didn't, nor were we even given the choice of combining the two halves of the amulet to make it whole.

Wyche is a pup. He knows shit. [snort]. The amulet is a totem, a repository for mystic energies. When half of it was stolen several months ago, I forged a link between myself and the remaining half of the amulet and gave that half to Wyche Gibbon. The circle of anachronists and occultists is small. Sooner or later the two halves would be one, and I would discover my thief and chew on his arteries. Aaaggghh, I don't like thieves! I will rape you and stomp you and hurt you for months, and months, and months!
I didn't steal either half of this. There's no reason for us to fight. I'm a vampire. Trapped like you. Maybe we can help one another. Restore our humanity before it's too late.
Heeeeeeeaahhhhaaahaaa hehehehehe! Stupid meat! Stupid! Stupid! I embrace what they've made me. I knew of the vampires and with deceits arcane wooed two neophytes to my shop and demanded they bring me the lord of their order. And when he came, I begged Van Helsing to take me. I demanded. I threatened to expose him, to work against him unless he killed me and rebirthed me. He sympathized with my lust. He knew. He'd done it himself. So many lonely years fighting undying foes, and no matter how famous his victories, no matter how feared he grew among his enemies, they only had to wait for him to die. Easy for a young one like you to be a scoffer, but Van Helsing contemplated death and grew weak in his chest. He made his choice, as I made mine. Restore my humanity?! I adore what I am. I've never been so alive [snort]. My old hips churn with grace, my knees straighten, my fleshy muscles know strength, strength enough to pin down any man. Mmmmmm [snort]. And rip from him his passion and mm . . . mmmmm! lap up his splashing blood. Ooooooohhh makes me 'gasm just thinking about it.
I don't think you and I are gonna be friends.
But I love you, honey. Let's eat 'em up, girls!

I equipped blessed soul blades on Stark and Hakim right before this. Unfortunately, we aren't, as I prevously thought, given the choice of not placing all of your party members. We have the place every one of them, and if we want them to leave the fight, we have to order each one to retreat separately.

Well that didn't go as planned.

Death has a smiley face tatoo on his chest. What am I looking at in this picture, anyway?

Let's try that again. Stark is next to Kate, while Hakim is next to Shada & Necra. I've equipped refraction shield on both of them, so they're impervious to Lazer damage, which both Shada and Necra cause, if they don't choose to bite. If we want to kill a vampire, we have to target their chest with a stake, soul blade, or blessed soul blade equipped. We'll tell all the others to retreat.

As you can see, striking a vampire with a blessed soul blade is almost always a one-hit kill.

With the refracting armor on, and the blessed soul blades, this fight is a joke.

There's what we came for. If we would have done a general retreat during the fight, and came back later to kill them, we wouldn't have received the Catal Huyuk book, for some reason.

Çatalhöyük is located in present day Turkey.

In my view, the most interesting part of Çatalhöyük is that--as far as we can tell, and much like other Paleolithic societies--it was a classless society, and that includes any hierarchies of gender. I remember hearing that there was some fringe view that thought Çatalhöyük had a matriarchial society, but all reputable sources deny this:

Ian Hodder (excavator) posted:

Çatalhöyük was excavated in the 1960s in a methodical way, but not using the full range of natural science techniques that are available to us today. Sir James Mellaart who excavated the site in the 1960s came up with all sorts of ideas about the way the site was organised and how it was lived in and so on,” he said. “We’ve now started working there since the mid 1990s and come up with very different ideas about the site. One of the most obvious examples of that is that Çatalhöyük is perhaps best known for the idea of the mother goddess. But our work more recently has tended to show that in fact there is very little evidence of a mother goddess and very little evidence of some sort of female-based matriarchy. That’s just one of the many myths that the modern scientific work is undermining.

It beats me why BloodNet felt the need to name drop it.

While we're in times square, let's go leech off of Lazlo's cyberspace access again.

One screen down...

This only happens after you bless the soul blades, hence why I said it's a required quest.

Abraham's daughter, right? Melissa?
I thought you would remember me.

I watched as my father turned you into a vampire, and I didn't do anything to help you.

You're decked into the net?
I watched cyberspace be constructed. I know many of its secrets.
What do you want? Do you want me dead? Do you want to make me your father's slave?
Like you, I work to end my father's evil. I'm taking a great risk contacting you. But we must not talk here. Too many people could be listening in. Meet me at Le Phood and we can discuss this further.

This is coming straight out of nowhere. At no point were there even hints that Melissa could be working against her father.

I'm not aware we're discussing anything.
I'm proposing an alliance, Stark. Your force and mine. Together we can succeed where alone we would die.
And I'm supposed to trust you? If I show up at this restaurant, you won't be waiting with your father and a dozen other vampires?
I selected Le Phood for a reason. That neighborhood is busy around the clock and the restaurant never closes. I'm told it is a fine place to dine, but too public for vampires. Besides, I have not forgotten our kiss at my father's penthouse. You see, my reasons for contacting you are as much personal as professional. Meet me at Le Phood, Ransom. I can help you, and you are the only one who can help me.

This could be a trap, but we're forced to go there anyway. Before that, though...

It's 10:01 PM on Day 3, and Stark is about to go crazy and bite someone.

We've got one more left, now.

This is the place.

Location posted:

In an exclusive uptown bistro, patrons are dining on exclusive, private, SupraLevel tables. Employees and patrons of the restaurant look at you curiously when you enter; you don't seem to fit the restaurant's atmosphere.

The restaurant, much like any other exclusive place in BloodNet, has someone guarding the entrance.

Get lost. I'm meeting someone here. I see her right over there.
If you care to dine with the lady, I'll tell her you've arrived. Fifty dollars will get you to your table. Agreed, sir?

I don't know why we're even given a choice, here. If we pick no, his last line of dialogue repeats infinitely until we say yes.

Thank you, sir. Enjoy your dinner. And mind you keep your voice down in here.

Transfer Money posted:

Ennui receives 50 dollars. You now have 131280 dollars in your account.

In the red, there's that reporter we met back at the Hellfire club. She coerced us into giving her a vial of blood.

Eleanor Salem posted:

Eleanor Salem, reporter for the Manhattan Post, is glad to see you.

Give Object posted:

The Manhattan Post is placed in the inventory of Ransom Stark.

My name's not mentioned, I hope.
Hey, I keep my word. I got my story; you got to live, just like I promised. But it's kind of ironic, isn't it, Stark? I do a fluff piece on rich vampire phonies when my accessory to the story is the genuine article. But fluff is what the public wants to see. That's why I just got bumped up to associate editor. Well, I gotta go. Take it easy Stark. Watch your back. You never know who's lurking in the shadows in this city. See you around, Stark.

Now she's gone from BloodNet forever. Let's check out this story.

Manhattan Post posted:

Manhattan Post lead story, CyberLife Section: "Vampire Elite Bite the Big Apple in Style" by Eleanor Salem: When it's all been done before, where's a Manhattan socialite to go but the dark side? Undercover, I discovered just that in New York's most exclusive circle. The Club (which shall remain unnamed) has made merry out of the macabre. These days, the lifestyle of the undead is to die for. Violent vampires may be roaming the city streets, but others are climbing New York's social ladder with a bottle of Dom in one hand and a bottle of AB negative in the other. (Continued on page C7.)

Not worth it.

Here's the next person to talk to.

BloodNet fails again. This was the dialogue that should have triggered: "She's been waiting for you, I noticed. The stunning woman over there. She your girlfriend? Well, you may be surprised to learn that you aren't the only gentleman caller. She's got another guy on the side, big guy. Saw one here earlier. Too bad. You thought you were the only one in her life, didn't you? Sad."

There are two other people to talk to, aside from Melissa.

Oh yeah, remember Incubus? That was a thing... we should be getting to that soon.

There's what happened to George Yatchison. We met him in the hellfire club, and he gave us a TransTech security badge.

Now let's get to business.

Melissa Van Helsing posted:

The striking Melissa Van Helsing dominates the room, the other patrons stealing glances at her, but obviously fearing to make eye contact with her.

Can't promise you I'm staying, so you'd better make your pitch fast. Make one false move, and I'll kill you.
Yes, I believe you might. But I promise no fast moves, and I've already made my offer. Let me join with you against my father. I know many things about him, things that could help us defeat him. For example, there is a man named Alexandar Tennant who knows many of my father's secrets, things even I do not know. Tennant grows dissatisfied with my father. If we approach him together, he may help us. He is a member of the Hellfire Club Inner Sanctum. If we can gain access to the Club, we can speak to him there. You see? Together we would be formidable. Together, we would be two vampires against one.
What's in it for you? Why kill your father? Unhappy childhood?
Haven't you ever wondered how I became a vampire? Hadn't it occurred to you that my father had to have done this to me? He came to me while I slept. I was awakened by his lifting the covers and sliding next to me. I was confused and horrified as he put his arms around me and pulled himself on top of me. He made me an immortal, a vampire.
That was a long time ago. You're just now getting pissed about it?
You don't understand. When I awoke as a vampire, I was frightened and alone. I needed my father despite what he had done to me, and he needed me long after I had stopped needing him.
He forced you?
He has held me in his service for what has seemed like endless decades, until now. Together we can bring my father down and face the night no longer alone. I want to be free of my father, Ransom. And you're the one who can free me.
Why me? Surely there've been others.
None like you. None who have been strong enough to resist his will, none who have been able to resist my will and hold my interest for long. Two hundred years is a long time, Ransom, and a woman gets lonely. That is my deal. Simple and no "fast moves" as you put it. Will you have me join you?

As much as this feels like a trap, we actually have to agree if we want to complete the game.

Who will Melissa replace?

Main Quests
Bring Chuck (Electric Anarchy) the TransTech list of Deirdre's associates
Incriminate Walter McCalaster for Bill Dougan, in order to help Mother Mary
Kill Abraham Van Helsing
Talk to Alexandar Tennant (Hellfire Club) with Melissa in our party

Side Quests
Go back to Larisa Mayne (Plaza Hotel) to cure her madness
Bring Bertrand Foucault (Plaza Hotel) the blood-synthesizing nanotech
Meet Emily Esaki at the Hellfire Club
Find Helvecticus' junky brother
Get the missing piece of Red Crosse Armor for Anias
Wyche Gibbons (Museum of Modern Art) will trade $4000 for the book, Mystics of Catal Huyuk, from the New York Public Library

We should go to these WELLs
NYVAULT is the WELL of the New York Bank