Part 7So, we left Conrad at the beginning of New Washington, newly embittered by the machinations of elderly tradesmen. From the starting screen, we head right...
...and for many players, this would be as far as we go. There's nothing down the lift shaft but a power generator so the only way to go is up the path to the top.
I know I'm not the only one who was stuck on this for ages because it seemed every time I turned to the hints page in The One Amiga Magazine someone would be asking about the god damn start of level 2 in Flashback. And I remember the smug tone of the reply when they revealed that the solution lay in the game's manual. Well, maybe we didn't have the manual, The One Amiga Magazine. Maybe this was back in the 'copying games and giving them to all your schoolfriends' heyday. Or maybe we did have the manual and our pubescent brains couldn't concentrate on it long enough before needing to run off and have a wank.
You'd have thought that the way to leap and grab the ledge would be to perform a running jump, right?
Well you'd be WRONG. You'd be so wrong it shamed your family. The running jump was missing a foot or two of height. You see, the running jump and the running ledgey grabby jump were two completely different moves.
To run jump you have to hold A and LEFT, then press UP. But to run ledgey grabby jump, you have to start running with A and LEFT, then RELEASE left. Conrad continues to run, and if any ledges show up overhead he'll leap and grab them.
The running ledgey grabby jump is only completely necessary at maybe three or four points in the entire game. I'm sorry Flashback, I really do love you, but I wonder why I hang around when you keep interrupting your delicious gameplay and storyline to punch me in the face.
The path leads us quickly to our friend Ian's workshop, and an introduction to a new baddy: the Cop. Cops in this strange future function differently to police in our time - where our cops wait for people to break the law before opening fire, these ones are not constrained by such archaic ideas of peacekeeping.
After shooting them once, they start flying around on their little jetpacks and firing at you, and at this stage the shots are virtually unavoidable. Fortunately they can only take two or three hits and a fully loaded shield will absorb whatever damage this encounter can bestow. So, Conrad shoots the sheriff and his deputy, and Ian gets up off the floor, the wimp.
When Conrad talks to people, he has no conception of 'personal space'.
No, but I've got this talking box in my pocket who thinks you're an OK guy.
I'm not sure I like the sound of that, but okay. We can now interact with that fancy Total Recall memory implant chair.
And suddenly, Conrad remembers who he is.
Not really. Actually he's some kind of government agent or some shit.
Now we go into the backstory. The comic book Linguica posted on the first page probably tells it better than this cutscene does. I dunno what 'end of year thesis' is talking about, I guess the glasses were someone's science project?
You can tell when the animators have shifted from rotoscoped to original art, because Conrad gains a ridiculous hairdo and the characters all suddenly look like anime mongoloids.
So what I originally inferred from this scene - not knowing comic book backstory - was that Conrad invented a pair of goggles that tell you whether or not you're looking at a human being. Which could be very useful if a guy walked into a room with his dog and you were dangerously retarded and needed to figure out which was which.
Somehow the aliens figured out that someone was looking at them funny.
The SNES rom I was playing seemed to get a lot of slowdown in cutscenes when a lot of stuff was going on, so this thrilling action sequence was slowed down to about one frame a second and all the pace was lost.
I can just imagine how nonplussed Ian must have been when it arrived. He'd have been all like, "What does he expect me to do with this? Is this some subtle way of hinting what he wants for Christmas?"
Later, Conrad is walking down the street when someone aims a laser pointer at his back. Red lasers are obsolete in the future. All the cool kids use purple ones now.
A rooftop sniper takes him down, and I should probably have taken more pictures to convey this better.
Then a big shoe comes along and steps on him. Things are just going from bad to worse.
Conrad wakes up to find himself sans backstory and in a room where some guy with a massive fucking ear talks in ALL CAPS to Doctor McCoy.
Ugh. That's quite some forehead bloat Conrad's got going on there.
Conrad does a runner, his captors having forgotten to, you know, strap him in or supervise him in any way, and that's I guess where the game's intro sequence started us off.
Incidentally, the whole amnesia plot element, the very thing after which this game is named, has now been resolved, barely a third of the way into the game. That's like calling Return of the Jedi "The Rescuing Han Solo Adventure". I was hoping for some kind of astounding Total Recallesque twist at the end but apparently not.
EARTH is always capitalised. I guess Conrad thinks he's being dramatic.
You can only see it with a telescope.
Hello, we're the good guys. We murder police officers and forge civic documents.
I'm certain this is Nintendo's influence. I'm pretty sure in my old Amiga version the 'Cafe' was a 'Bar'. It seems like something Nintendo would do because they made an identical change to Earthbound. Also, Cyber Tower used to be called Death Tower. Don't expect Nintendo to change all the actual gunplay and killing, no, that would make too much sense.
And thus ends Ian's part in this ongoing drama.
Next update: Conrad joins the workforce