Part 12: StellerexAlright, well that was a fun little excursion to the world of understanding and caring and acting like we aren't going to run this Geneva convention violation into the ground.
We're approaching the endgame now. I COULD fit the rest of the game into an update the size of my past ones, but there are two thematically distinct parts left in the game, so I'll be handling one of them per update.
Now, again, this is the endgame. Think about what we know about the game, and how it ran out of time and money, and was rushed through. Think about what that probably means for the endgame. What does it even mean, in a game like this, to say logical structure and narrative start to break down? Well, we're about to find out.
But before we begin: the carrot. Stick with this and you'll see a very surprising ending. They managed to give every character a totally different ending - totally distinct from every other character's!
But for now...
Suggested Listening: OKGO: Invincible
If we recall last time, we had just robbed a priest of a crucifix and a book of banishment.
You know, that's an interesting question, Isaac. On the ONE hand, if we're going to be utilitarian about this, then yes, banishing an ancient demon of lies who is trying to enslave the world PROBABLY excuses petty theft, especially if you, you know, give the stuff back later.
Or you could maybe, like, take the priest out to the graveyard to see the floating skullman? It's not that far, and he seems amiable enough!
On the other hand, if our members of a shadowy government agency have really started believing that the means justify the ends, we could be in for a lot more trouble than simple theft! With their seemingly unlimited power to carry out crimes in the service of fulfilling their mission, we might soon be in a state where-
Alright yeah that's too deep for this series.
So floats-n-gloats here gets a different dialogue option when we have the completed disc. Interestingly, the book of magic (that we got from the house I'd never seen before) isn't required for this at all, even though it tells you what to write in blood on the disc. I guess that's just standard Bureau training.
For whatever reason, this is one of the places where every agent gets unique dialogue. We go all the way from unbelievably awesome...
scarin' that cowardly boss o' yers off, I won't be able to settle this. An' believe me, the last thing ye want is an angry Irishman after ye. SO HELP ME I'LL DUFF YE!
Stellerex has just been warned of our arrival.
Yes, Isaac. If only we could CRACK THIS CODE, maybe we could determine if some kind of a warning has just been sent. Perhaps through compressions of the air, meant to travel in a waveform!
The other agents have various levels of awesome. We might expect that Littlepants has something frightening and hardcore to say, but in actuality...
She absolutely has something frightening and hardcore to say. You stay awesome, Delilah.
I don't celebrate small victories.
- I hear a demon screaming? All I can think is UGH. AGAIN?
Weirdly enough (this seems like the best place to point this out), if Selma tries a divination around floathead...
I guess this is more cut content? There's nothing you can do to make it serve any purpose except spending its entire life screaming.
(Didn't get a screenshot, but Alex says): I believe this demon is attempting to annoy us to death.
Well, let's just curbstomp him with the crucifix and forget about all this.
Alright well that was fun, but that's enough of that. When he disappears in a flash, a new location opens up!
I don't know why we couldn't go there before, I guess maybe he was guarding it? ONWARD!
Well, it's what it said on the tin anyway.
Alex, the 300-year-old undead vampire, is sort of creeped out by tombs I guess. Because Delilah sure as GOODNESS isn't afraid of anything, so it must be him!
- It's not so unusual, is it? To be somewhat perturbed by death? The state which I am in eternal retreat from, yet caught loosely in its grasp? The unknowable void of which I am reminded every time I fail to draw breath, every time I see my pale reflection, drained of bloo-
- You have a reflection? I thought you guys didn't have those
- Some of the elder vampires may achieve this, it's true, but not one as young as I. We theorize it's because of their loosening connection to th-
- So what you're saying is, you aren't even a GOOD vampire.
- I DON'T FRANKLY SEE HOW YOU CAN DERIVE THAT MERELY FROM MY REFLECTION
- Hahahahaha soooooore spoooooot
- Let's just go into the mausoleum. If I'm lucky, at least one of us will PERSIH.
- Yeah just avoid any mirrors, wouldn't want them seeing your REFLECTION
Not... super subtle about his hiding place, is he?
Come to think of it, why is this small-town mausoleum his hiding place at all? We know he's at least hundreds of years old, so it can't be that his REMAINS are in there. And assuming that priest wasn't UTTERLY lying, he set himself up next to probably the biggest holy power generator in town. Well, it's convenient for us anyway!
Hmmm. But wait. Something's off here. Something about... a thread poll? Ah yes.
There we go.
And we're in.
There's no obvious entryway (we didn't enter from the top or bottom), and we actually are totally unable to leave. It's just us and this catacombs. Probably a maze to get to the demon!
Gross. Bet you THIS comes up again.
HUGE puddles of the stuff, actually! Whatever it's growing on, it's NUTRITIVE.
We'll, let's head out, starting by going down.
makes me sleepy.
Yeah, go ahead and say that on the one screen with no coffins on them, Alex you crazy joker.
Hm. Looks like a right turn - let's go right one.
More coffins and mold.
Iiiiii'm a coffin I'm a coffin I'm a coffin. Iiiiii'm a coffin I'm a coffin...
You're an idiot. If this is truly a maze, we should make a map. Here.
"Call me"? What floozy did you hypnotize into writing that?
Agent Littlepanther, my person business is none of your co
WAIT. 12345-67890? That isn't a phone number! You keep this just to show off!
I - uh-
Oh this day just gets better and better!
Starting to look more and more similar. Coffins, moss.
We... turn left here. Uh oh.
Coffin. COFFIN. The word is losing all its meaning.
We turn... down....
Yaaaay a closed circle!
Now, before we move on, go ahead and look back over the maze screenshots to see if you notice the clue that tells us where Stellerex's lair is. I'll wait.
Found it yet?
Alright if you actually stopped to look over the screenshots you really need to get a handle on this game works. No, of course there are no clues. What's going on here of course is that the center wall is an ILLUSION.
And how would you know that?
Well sure as heck not by moving your mouse cursor over it!
See, if you'll recall, moving your cursor over something interesting, like, say, mold that has no plot significance at all ever, makes it turn yellow, like this:
So if we move our cursor over the wall...
What with this and the hidden compartment in the priest's room, though, we ought to be getting used to this kind of thing.
No, the only way to tell it's there is to just bump into it.
Note that this only works in the middle-left and middle-right rooms.
Now, before I show what comes after, I need you to understand just how much of a "screw-you" this area is.
You've been seeing the guided walkthrough of this game. The first time I played it, it was UNguided. Which means... well it means just a LOT of random clicking.
If you'll recall, I never found the book that tells you how to make the demon-banishing disc, nor did I ever find that Spike Clemmens was listed in the library as a murderer.
This is all stuff I only know about because I tore open the text files in the game looking for dialogue that I never found. Some of that related to cut content, but I was able to find the flags that let you enter the house with the magic book and that Spike was on the library computer that way.
Now, think about the fact that I originally assembled the demon-banishing disc without the book. That means I:
A) Got the hacksaw and botany book
B) Used the hacksaw randomly on every tree until I cut down the one in the park
C) Used the hacksaw on everything in my inventory until I cut the dogwood branch
D) Dug everywhere until I randomly dug up Spike Clemmens' grave (to be fair, I
probably started digging in the graveyard, since it makes "sense" to dig there)
E) Used everything in my inventory on the spilled blood until the fingerbone worked
F) Used the bloody fingerbone on everything randomly in my inventory until I
combined it with the dogwood branch.
All that without having a clear picture of what the final goal was.
And if I did THAT much random clicking, you can probably guess that that's just a TINY subsection of all the total random trying of crap that got done. I really tried everything on everything.
In fact, my basic strategy was to explore every new area that I could, make a note of what was where, solve the puzzles that made any kind of sense (for instance, getting the evidence from the police station), and then randomly trying everything until something worked to advance.
And that works "great", for MOST of the game.
See you don't need the book of banishing, which, if you'll recall, was utterly hidden in a totally unremarkable section of flooring in the priest's room to banish the floating skulldemon.
You don't even need the disc that makes him start screaming in fear instead of gloating.
No, all you need is the crucifix from the priest's room. The obvious crucifix, that you almost certainly grabbed on your first pass.
So you use that, banishing the demon, and then you can go to the mausoleum. The game provides you with ONE tiny hint about this part. If you look at the mausoleum with a magic-knowledgeable character (Selma or Blank)
Now it goes without saying that I didn't play with Selma or father Blank (I was a thief/mech man, myself). Which means I just straight-up entered the crypt, and thought, man, Stellerex might be around here! I better save!
You can't leave the crypt. There's no exit.
And if you don't have BOTH the book of banishing and the demon-banishing disc, once you walk through this wall, you lose. Full stop. Observe!
Fool! You may have penetrated my illusion, but that mistake will cost you an early death! Behold the power of Satan's lieutenant! Behold your doom!
Remember how Father Blank said "oh don't take that book of banishing, partner of mine! I TOTALLY know a rite of banishing!" Yeah he doesn't. If you don't have the book with you, he'll get pushed over by what looks like the chibi version of an imp from Doom. Or... I'm not sure what Stellerex is doing there. Casting a spell?
Anyway, the agent who was in control when you entered his room is dead, all his equipment is wiped out, and your other agent wakes up back at the RV.
Sure hope the guy who was in charge didn't have the hacksaw, dogwood branch, book of banishing, or fingerbone! Or, for that matter, the stimulants and depressants from the gang's hideout! Because you are BONED if those are gone.
So yes, if that happens, as it did to me, you just have to restart. And here's the thing - there's no way to tell if what you need to kill Stellerex is IN the mausoleum (it isn't) or not!
Heck, characters drop ALL KINDS of hints about how to beat him, ALL of which are false.
Selma says demons are afraid of light, and even cheers if you turn on the flashlight, saying it'll be enough to stun him (it isn't).
Delilah will talk about crushing him, she can't.
If you end up with the disc but not the book of banishing, the floating skull-demon will start screaming, indicating that you're prepared. You aren't.
So yeah, this is just a big middle finger right before the end of the game. Note that the ACTUAL final boss is nowhere near this punishing. You can just up and walk right out of his area and explore the whole rest of the world if you want to!
But let's assume you have everything you need, like we do. The confrontation is just 180 degrees different. You win. Full stop.
You win by putting spiky metal wrist/ankle bands on him, which offends his sense of fashion so much he teleports back to hell forever. But not before he coughs up a few paragraphs of course.
Oh my head.
Alright, let's parse this.
Stellerex, an ancient demon of lies, who'd been banished for some time, has returned somehow. It's not really clear if Ted Simpson led the cult to bring him back, or if he came back first, ensnared Simpson, and used him to start the cult, or what.
So what does an ancient demon of lies do, anyway? Some kind of lying, you'd assume. Something involving.... like, lies?
Nope! He turns his demonic malevolence DIRECTLY INTO CODE, making a normally harmless but nonetheless weak A.I. go both strong and evil all at once. Presumably, the computer then directed Ted to start implanting people with mind-control chips in a remarkably non-invasive procedure, then releasing them into the wild with big chips on their necks.
Again, those implanted people were:
1) Living in a shack in the middle of the woods, teleporting passers-by away.
2) Hunting a goth band that he thought was made of vampires, something he was presumably NOT doing on orders from the AI (because why)
3) Going on a date in a bar then holding her hostage. Fortunately, he can't kill because it's not in his psychological profile to be harmful, and I guess a brain override can't alter that
4) Hanging out? Before booby-trapping your RV. That one at least makes some kind of sense. Eliminating the Bureau agents at least advances the AI's cause.
Whatever that cause is. We're not super-clear yet. So we've stopped the arguable big bad! But he said he gave you something to take down Ted with?
Hahaha what. Why did STELLEREX, LIEUTENANT OF SATAN need a key card! Where did he KEEP it?! Why is he giving it to you, the people with the best chance of foiling his plan!
I mean really, think about this. "Alright, you banished me. But that doesn't mean you've won! I made a computer sentient and evil, and here is the keycard to where it is! Bwahahahaha"
I need an antacid. Or a drink.
Well, next time it's BACK TO AI to FINISH WHAT WE ARGUABLY STARTED. Except that we ACTUALLY WON'T, BECAUSE ALL WE STARTED WAS HUNTING WITHERS, AND THIS GAME WILL BE DAMNED IF IT'S EVER GOING TO LET YOU SEE HIM AGAIN!
Voting: Which team should tackle the rogue AI?