Part 19: Because We Hate EndingsUpdate 18 - Because We Hate Endings
We're removing one Christian Crusader for a Catholic Priest. I'm not sure how to feel about that.
Why not check out Le Phood again. I have a feeling something's different around here.
**Not Pictured: another ambush**
Who's that in the red?
Walter McCalaster posted:
Walter McCalaster, once upper echelon TransTech management, is now busy waiting tables. He is arrogant, condescending, and even deliberately rude to most of the patrons. In short, he's your typical waiter in an overpriced uptown bistro.
Oh shit, Walter's here?
Just bring over the dessert cart, boy. How about serving up a nice big slice of humble pie?
You! How dare you show your face to me after ruining my life! A TransTech career shot to hell because of you and your holier-than-thou bible-beaters!
Careful! Keep your voice down. You might get busted from waiter to busboy.
I swear to God, I'll rip your heart out right here at table seven!
Before you do, I think the lady here cares for some fresh ground pepper on her salad.
You're a dead man, Stark!
Goodnight, sweet corporate exec.
Now we're on our way to recruit Chuck.
Garrick is here, but if we talk to him, he asks to join us again. If we refuse, Rymma leaves our party, So we'll leave him be.
Take Object posted:
Chuck takes the Tackett Associate List.
We didn't do this earlier because it's required that Chuck join our party for a certain event. I wish that BloodNet wasn't so non-linear, if only to make the main plot progression actually make sense.
O.K. You are on the list. And I have heard Deirdre talk about you sometimes. She ever tell you about me?
I heard about the sacrifice the Lost Kids made.
Well, I'm the only one left. I sure do miss all of them, and Deirdre too. I left Topeka with my mother and came to New York when I was eight. When my mom died a year later, I just roamed the streets. Deirdre saved me, gave me a home, taught me about the net. She did the same for the other kids--Sally, Lou, Pat, and Violet. Now they've all gone into the net to protect Incubus.
I know. And I also know that Van Helsing's after it. She told you about Van Helsing, didn't she?
Yeah. She wanted to make sure there was no way he could get Incubus. And no way he could get it out of me. She never wanted the other kids to take Incubus and deck into the net permanently. But after it was done, she said she might as well make it work. She fixed me to not tell. A neural microimplant. Now I can't remember the access code to the Lost Kids' WELL, even though I programmed it. These guys here have held me hostage here for so long, beat the crap outta me, and stuck me with truth syrums, but nothing works.
Sounds like she did her job well. How do we get to Incubus then?
I don't know. But, somehow, I think Deirdre planned for it to happen this way. All I know is, the last time I saw her, she was wearing something strange. A pendant. A big emerald that looked like a fake. Deirdre never wore stuff like that; that's why I think it means something. We've got to get our hands on it somehow. And we better get out of here fast before these guys beat me up again.
A green pendant you say?
This is the only time in the game where we're required to disassemble something.
Something must be hidden in the pendant.
Disassemble Object posted:
Chuck successfully disassembles the Emerald Pendant. The components are in your inventory.
We get two items from that: a useless pendant case, and this Emerald Looker Chip.
Emerald Looker Chip posted:
The chip found inside Deirdre Tackett's emerald pendant.
If you don't remember, a looker chip is a component inside of your decking interface. This is the only "upgrade" for it, and it's required for a plot-progessing event.
Something tells me that we need cyberspace access at this point. Sampson's lab is the closest place.
We deck in, and in the general plane we find...
An encounter! We haven't had one of those in quite a while.
Harley Shakespeare posted:
A Tin Soldier data angel spins nearby.
Harley Shakespeare appears very late in the game, but as far as I can tell, the encounter isn't actually triggered by anything. Sometimes the encounter doesn't happen until the just before the very end of the game.
Harley Shakespeare? What the . . . How the hell did you find me? I watched you delete my file signatures from your deck. You promised you'd never use them again.
Yeah. Well. I lied a little, I guess. In a way, I kinda made a backup copy. I knew you weren't serious about our not working together anymore, and you're going to be happy I did, because there is money to be made, paisan.
Yeah, Harley. Last time you said that I had two Smoke Gangs out to kill me. Had to hide out in Philadelphia for six months until the heat was off.
How was I to know those solar cells belonged to the Yakuza? It wasn't like they printed their names on them or anything.
Not interested. I got enough problems that could kill me.
Just listen. Listen. Trust, paisan, trust. It's so important to a business relationship like ours. There's risk in any venture between two people. And those two people got to trust each other, because when a venture sometimes, y'know, ahhhh, goes wrong due to unplanned contingencies, what do those two people have left between them? Trust. That's it. Trust. So just hear me on this, huh, O.K.? You know I've got my ear to the ground. I hear things, profitable things.
You have one minute, Harley.
You won't regret this, paisano. Here's the setup. A New York branch of the Kenyan mafia loses its ace angel. He decks in one day to purge some security records and spring the ice on a TransTech bio-tech subsidiary, routine stuff for this archangel, and BAMM! He's flatlining. Only this guy was something of an extra-cognitive, y'know? He has mental powers he uses to juice up his deck. Before his mind lines out he starts foaming at the mouth, shouting "Incubus" right before he died. Yeah, I know the whole Incubus thing is just a street decker's legend, but the Kenyans have always believed in it, and they're offering major cash--one hundred thousand--to anyone who can get them a look at what fried their angel.
At this point, we know that Incubus, the ultimate icebreaker, is quite real, and we need it for Stark to turn back into a human.
Like I said, I've got enough people trying to kill me right now. I don't need to surf the matrix looking for more trouble.
Hey, who is? I'm not asking you to go anywhere near what killed that Kenyan. We don't have to give them Incubus, just a reasonable facsimile, something that looks like it could have killed a data angel. I happen to almost have that. A few years ago, I had a hacker working with me. We were looking for scams like this. Lot a people willing to pay for things that might be Incubus. He was designing software that could overlay localized areas of the General Plane with its own data constructs. The overlays are only temporary, but with the right, uh, presentation, it can be a plausible possible Incubus. Anyhow, the idea was to take this on the road and peddle it.
But there was a catch.
There's always a catch. My hacker keeled over. Blew up his heart with a fistfull of breathers. Left the program uncompleted. He'd compiled it all into two huge modules, but hell if I can find someone to combine them. Apparently, his code is like a machine version of Yiddish and is entirely undocumented.
Where do I come in?
You find a hacker who can combine those two modules, and you'll become an extremely well-paid bag man. I'm copying the two modules into your deck. Find somebody who can put them together and bring the finished product to the Winter Garden Theater. Make sure it's someone you trust. The Kenyans'll want to examine it before they transfer any money to us. They're offering one hundred thousand bucks. I'll give you 50,000 dollars for your end. If you don't show up, I'll assume you're not interested.
The theater? Is that safe?
We're between productions. I'll be the only one there other than the Kenyans.
Give Object posted:
The Fake Incubus is placed in your decking unit's memory.
We certainly don't need the money, but I'm playing this game so you don't have to. I'll show it off.
He makes it sound too easy, man. If the code's that complicated, how you gonna rig it?
We just need someone with a high hacking skill for this to work.
Assemble Object posted:
Chuck combines the two code modules into a functioning program. You hope this fools Nobotu.
Chuck's got a very high hacking skill. Charley does, as well. We should be good.
Winter Garden Theater is in Times Square.
It is a real place.
But I'm pretty sure it doesn't look like this.
You know, I've never have seen CATS. I hear that they used to perform it in English years ago.
This show still running? Guess the tourists keep coming.
Broadway's Winter Garden Theater is home to New York's longest-running performance, CATS. Due to the overwhelming number of the city's tourists attending the production, the entire show has been performed in Japanese since the year 2006.
We're actually on a timer for this quest. If we turn up late, the three mafia types would be gone and the deal would be called off.
Harley Shakespeare is in the yellow, in the left corner.
Harley Shakespeare posted:
Harley Shakespeare practically bounces off the walls from nervous energy.
Ice it, Harley. I've got it.
I've done this kind of thing before, Harley.
Yeah, but something's wrong with you. Maybe it's your skin color. You don't look right, and it's making me nervous.
Harley is a passive-aggressive racist.
There are two bodyguards around the mafia boss.
A beefy body guard tries to stare you down.
Just try something, street scum.
The other one is on the left.
One of Nobotu's formidable bodyguards stands at attention near his employer.
That's all. Let's get this deal done. The boss is in the middle.
Jonathon Nobotu posted:
A well-dressed, hulking African dominates the room. You quickly surmise that he is a leader in the Kenyan mafia.
I've got the program that fried your angel.
'Cause I'm the best at what I do. You have to pay for the real talent.
Were circumstances different, I would teach you some respect.
Yeah, well, if circumstances were different, you wouldn't need Shakespeare and me to bail you out.
Load the program into my palmtop. Is it Incubus?
That's for you to find out. My job was to get it here.
Very well. Give me time to study the program. Return here, and you will be paid.
Take Object posted:
Jonathon Nobotu takes the Fake Incubus.
Both Harley and Nobotu disappear, for some reason. If we didn't have the fake Incubus made, and we talked to Nobotu twice, he would have attacked us. He may still attack us - we have to leave the theater and return. If the fake Incubus was made well, we'll get the money. If it wasn't, he attacks us, along with his bodyguards.
When I said I had a feeling we could use cyberspace access, I was thinking about something else. Let's use Lazlo's, again. I'm also placing the emerald looker chip in our decking unit.
On the general plane, we find...
Tackett Cybervision posted:
A cybervision of Deirdre Tackett appears before you.
This encounter triggers only if Chuck is in your party, and you've placed the emerald looker chip in your deck.
away from them has troubled you, but it was the safest way to prevent Incubus from falling into the wrong hands. As long as they had done what they did, I wanted to make sure they weren't discovered by the wrong people. If you managed to find the emerald pendant then, undoubtedly, Ransom Stark has been with you to help you battle Van Helsing. It's all working as I had hoped. Now you and Stark must complete the job. I appear before you so that you may now get Incubus. Go. Use the password. It's quite simple. In fact, you've always had the power to get into the Lost Kids' WELL. It's something you could never forget. It's the place you always talk about returning to. There's no place like it--KANSAS.
Who wants to reference the wizard of oz, of all things?
Deirdre, wait! I miss you! I need to talk with you about--
You don't need my help any longer, Chuck. I need yours. My only wish now is that I may live long enough to see Van Helsing's evil destroyed. Goodbye.
It sounds like Deirdre must be dead.
In any case, we need to go to this well.
You're only allowed access if you've
- Placed Tackett's Essence in your deck (which we found at TransTech)
- Have Chuck in your party
Could it be?
My, God. We did it! Sally! Pat! Violet! Lou! I missed you guys!
You should be proud, Stark. With this program you can combat the evil that's holding New York hostage.
In the Lost Kids' WELL are the four young friends of Deirdre Tackett who have decked permanently into the net in order to protect Incubus from falling into evil hands.
We only need to speak to one of the lost children, but let's speak to them all.
Pat, the youngest and meekest of the Lost Kids', seems to be shielded by the others.
Aside from Sally, they don't have much to say.
The data angel of Violet, one of the Lost Kids, is glad to see you.
Lou, one of the Lost Kids, is a young, but tough data angel. He's annoyed by your presence and the fact that you can deck out of the net.
It all comes down to Sally.
Sally, Deirdre's favorite of the Lost Kids, is waiting for you in the Lost Kids' WELL. Like the others, she was once under the care and direction of Deirdre Tackett before decking into the net permanently and relinquishing her body, making the ultimate sacrifice in order to protect Incubus.
Sally, I missed you and everybody! It stinks being back there without you. I know Deirdre didn't want you to do this.
That's why we did it on our own. I know how important Incubus is; Deirdre had told me how she wrote the code. We all knew that if Incubus fell into the wrong hands, all of New York would be enslaved. We did what had to be done. My only regret is the years I'll miss working with Deirdre. She taught me so many things, and there was so much more I wanted to do before I turned fourteen. The other Lost Kids insisted on coming with me, even though I tried to make them stay. I hope they aren't having regrets. I feel bad for little Pat; he seems so lonely and scared. Violet misses home. And Lou's just busting to get out of here. But I think we'll be O.K. in here. There's lots to be done in the net. It'll be quite an adventure. Well, Stark, here it is. Incubus. The program that reigns above all others. The Omnipotence Code. The decker who uses it can truly be called master of the matrix. Like most instruments of power, it can be used for good or evil. Use it to cast the final blow against Van Helsing. Save Deirdre before time runs out.
She's alive?! Where is she being held?
Give Object posted:
The Incubus is placed in your decking unit's memory.
I'll be back to visit, I promise, Sally! You guys saved New York. But it hasn't been the same without you since you left.
I have so many questions. About Incubus. About--
Goodbye, Chuck. Goodbye, Stark. We've done what we can here. You're the only one who can finally destroy Van Helsing's evil. Go. Make Deirdre proud.
There's nothing else to do in here.
But we do have the real Incubus. Doesn't look like much. Wasn't it supposed to be the ultimate icebreaker?
Anyway, let's return to the theatre to get the money. Or get shot.
Harley is still gone.
Have your techs doped out that software I delivered, Nobotu? Is it Incubus?
If not, I'm sure Stark would gladly sell the real one.
Transfer Money posted:
Jonathon Nobotu gives you 50000 dollars. You now have 587194 dollars in your account.
Then he leaves, but his bodyguards stay behind...?
We only have one thing left to do.
Go back to John Harker. We could have removed Chuck from our party after we received Incubus, if we would have done that earlier. We only need Mother Mary and Incubus with us.
Remember what that statue looks like.
I don't like the look of this place. I don't think we're supposed to be here. I wanna go home, back to my real home.
They sure don't want you to feel exactly at ease here, do they?
I wouldn't have felt good about removing Chuck from our party if we did this earlier.
Here we go.
We still don't know where she is.
Let's not waste any time. We've got to get past this so that we can exorcise this evil from you. Hurry before it's too late.
I'm extrapolating this, but what I think we're doing is using Incubus, the ultimate icebreaker, to break down the security system of whatever vampiric virus that's infecting Stark. Then we can have Mother Mary exorcise it from him.
Isn't vampirism a virus in Shadowrun, as well?
You have the power to end this evil. I have spent most of my years guarding access to one of the deepest levels of cyberspace. I now have the freedom to give you the address. Go there to have this vampiric evil purged from your soul. The access code I was instructed to program is a simple one--ELIZABETH.
Thank you. You've made it possible for me to end this nightmare.
I've been enslaved to the vampire lord longer than I care to remember, as were my ancestors before me. I've dreamed of being a free man. That's why I'm helping you now. Now only you can do what has to be done. God be with you.
Let's get to it.
One screen down on the general plane...
Something comes out of the red circle...
Which morphs into...
Is that supposed to be a vampire..thing?
This looks like something I could make in a 3D modelling program in 10 minutes.
Hey, those sprites look a little familiar.
Incubus, give me a hand here.
can select weapons from your experience with which to fight him. I will present you with choices. You need only choose a weapon.
Incubus is sentient, all of the sudden? Dracula.mf?
Someone immediately interrupts us...
Dracula.mf is supposedly making these cybervisions of our enemies and allies that we have to fight.
Thanks to Incubus, we now have an the option, Get Weapon and Armor.
Up to this point, we've gotten by in BloodNet with only the occasional change of weapons/armor for certain fights. This changes with the last section of the game. Each enemy has a specific weapon--which we can still see with the status option--and a specific type of armor. Essentially, the last section of BloodNet is like playing rock-paper-scissors, except have half the information of what the opponent is going to do.
The Cybervision of Lash is using an Assault Rifle, so we'll equip Kevlar Coveralls on Stark. The problem, then, comes when deciding which weapon to use. We have no idea what armor Lash is using, so it's just a guessing game until you come across the weapon that works.
I have played through the ending section enough times to know which weapon to use for each opponent.
We are given a choice between every weapon in the game. In dealing with Lash, we'll stick with the sawed-off shotgun.
We've seen enough of BloodNet's combat that I don't think it's necessary to make a bunch of animated GIFs to show it off.
The futher problem with the ending sequence is BloodNet's insistence that, no matter the relevant weapons skill score of Stark, he must always occasionally miss. It seems to be completely random. The fight with Lash lasts several rounds, much longer than it should, since Starks keeps missing.
Stark ends up taking 44 points of damage from Lash's assault rifle.
Melissa is next.
She's using a White Noise blaster. That means we should equip a Force Field (yes, that is actually a type of armor in BloodNet) as armor. Since Melissa is a vampire, we'll equip a blessed soul blade as a weapon.
That took like 15 rounds because Stark kept missing. So much for being a combat specialist.
We never bothered with Nimrod 7, but he's the third enemy.
We'll equip a refraction shield to counter his laser rifle.
The sawed-of shotgun is a safe bet for a lot of these enemies.
Nimrod doesn't have a death animation, for some reason. There are no remains we can pick up from these enemies, if you were wondering.
After those three are dealt with, we have to walk to the next area of the WELL.
But this area...
Dracula's cyberrealm is unlike anything you've ever encountered in the net or the real world. There is no logic, no perspective, and no order. Yet you feel as if the entire illusion is being tightly controlled by its master, and that you are held captive.
Sounds scary. Let's leave.
"To the Death?" I guess there's nothing else we can do but go forward.
Looks like we have three more enemies to deal with.
Not Sir Anias!
He is equipped with a blessed soul blade, and there's no armor that can help against that. The only strategy that works is to place stark far enough away from Sir Anias where you can take him down before he takes you down - which requires that you choose the correct weapon.
Which is the sawed-off shotgun.
Really? This guy? He ambushed us when we went to Banks Verbatim's apartment/warehouse. This was the best Dracula could do?
The captain is using a weapon called an "electrical storm".
Beats me what armor is effective against it.
But the sawed-off shotgun is the weapon I chose. I'm pretty sure that you can use any weapon that falls under the same category as the sawed-off shotgun (assault rifle, 9mm pistol, etc.), but the shotgun is the best.
This is more like it.
He's using a Flame Thrower, which means that he's the only enemy in the game that uses one. I don't know what armor to use against it.
This is getting stupid.
Dracula's illusion stretches out before you--chaos, visual anarchy, and an element of unbridled whimsy.
Coincidentally or not, Dracula's voice is the same as Abraham Van Helsing's.
Well, that's pretty disappointing. They couldn't even make a custom sprite for Dracula?
Dracula will just try to bite you, so pick the Cross as armor. Predictably, the blessed soul blade is the weapon you'll want to choose.
Are you ready?!
Dracula goes down in one round. Some final boss.
Immediately after dracula's death...
What? What's happening in this picture?
Oh hey, it's that vampire bat thing.
It flies forward and disappears.
Dracula's WELL implodes...
Free her from where?! And didn't Incubus already help us?!
All we knew about Incubus before the ending sequence was that it was "the ultimate icebreaker", and now all of the sudden it's sentient and wants to destroy New York and take over cyberspace?
What a contrived plot twist. I recently reread the OP, and I don't agree with what I wrote at all about liking the game. BloodNet is not a good game. It's terrible. There was just as much broken about it that worked, everything had some sort of little bug to it, the dialogue wasn't good for the most part, and the ending is really bad.
There's something else, though.
The last area of the game has a green arrow, meaning that it was supposed to lead into some other area. Either that or it would have just led back to the previous area. This is pure speculation, but I imagine that the people who worked on BloodNet were under a strict enough time/budget limit that they had to cut whatever original ending they had in mind.
We ended the game at 91% humanity. Here's the game over screen if it hits 0%:
Wikipedia says that there was a sequel developed called "BloodNet 2000", but it was never released. Who knows, and who cares. BloodNet is something best left forgotten. It could have been good, but it messed up in every area that counts. Let's never speak of this again.