The Let's Play Archive


by Scintilla

Part 13: Black Market

Update 13: Black Market

Welcome back. Last time we checked into the Babylon Hotel and met some of the other guests before a group of Dorothy’s goons showed up to spoil the party.

Rion’s room is pretty spartan, but there are a few points of interest.

A complimentary Recovery Capsule near the phone, for one.

The room also has a bathroom, and it looks like something’s taped to the mirror.

If you remember from last update room 306 was the one with the mystery man who wouldn’t answer the door. It seems he has left us a message. We better go check that out.

An in-game scene plays when we enter. It’s hard to convey in screenshots, but the other man moves in a nervous, twitchy fashion.

: What are you doing here?

: I’m looking for someone.

: And you are…?

: Rion. Rion Steiner.

: Well, you look okay I guess…

: I do have to contact someone first…

Rion turns and leaves. Hopefully this middleman can help us find some clue as to Lilia’s whereabouts.

We have to go down to the lobby to advance the plot, but before that it’s in our best interests to turn around and revisit the middleman’s room.

Doing so lets us grab these consumables.

The ground floor is very quiet. Even the background music is gone.

The manager and the porter have vanished. Disconcerting, but perhaps their absence will let us snag some room keys and look at the guest list.

…This doesn’t bode well. I suppose we should open the door and see where the trail leads.

Inside we find the manager’s body, mutilated and stuffed into a sink. There’s nothing we can do for him now, but perhaps a psychometric reading will tell us something about how it happened.

: Can I kill him now?

: No. Wait until we find Lilia.

So, it appears the porter is a sleeper agent sent to keep watch over the hotel. From the dialogue it seems that Dorothy suspected Lilia was in the hotel, but didn’t know for sure until Rion checked in. Assuming the porter is also a Galerian, our job just got ten times more difficult.

The back of the room contains some lockers we can’t get into and a Recovery Capsule on the table.

There’s also this circuit breaker. We could flip it now, but all it does is turn off the lights and shut down the lift. It’s something to remember for later though.

Leaving triggers a brief scene of the porter screaming and freaking out in front of the grandfather clock on the second floor.

Music: Galerians - Hotel Theme 1

Outside we see that the middleman from upstairs is down here waiting for us. But first, let’s check behind the front desk.

Unfortunately the intruders have taken the keys and guest list.

At least this guy is here. Maybe we’ll get lucky and he’ll put us in touch with an information broker or something.

: You’ll find what you’re looking for in room 204. Knock like this to get in.

The man knocks on thin air, his fist somehow making a rapping sound. It’s hard to express in words, but the sequence is something like rap, rap-rap-rap, rap.

Room 204 is the one that looks like a bomb shelter.

This is one of the more annoying parts of the stage. You have to knock on the door in precisely the right way or it won’t open. Do it too fast or too slow or mess up the sequence and you’ll have to start over. You can talk to the guy in the lobby if you forget how it goes and he’ll repeat it for you, but it’s still irritating. But when you get it right

:…Come on in.

: You’re new around here, huh?

: Heh. You’re so young. Yet you’re hooked, aint’cha?

:…How did you know?

: Your face. It’s…wasted.

: You know, you remind me of someone. Yeah, one of my best customers.

: So, what’ll it be? I just scored some skip. Some Appolinar?

Welp! It looks like we accidentally managed to get ourselves in contact with a drug dealer. Good going, Rion!

On a more serious note, this scene has several implications for the plot. First, as far as I can tell this is the moment we find out that Nalcon, Red, Skip and the other PPECs we’ve been using are actually fiercely addictive and destructive to the body. Second, it confirms that these chemicals are actually fairly widespread, although presumably they only give psychic abilities to Galerians and anyone who lived through Dr. Lem’s experiments.

We didn’t set out to meet a drug dealer, but since we’re here we might as well help ourselves to his stock. The Skip, Nalcon and Red are nice, but Appolinar is a very special drug that appears nowhere else in the game.

The description says that it increases AP, but what it really does is fill up your entire AP bar to maximum, effectively allowing you to Short on command. It’s a very situational item, but it’s incredibly useful for the final stage of the game.

: I’ll put it on yer tab. Just be ready to pay up later!

We can also talk to the dealer. Thankfully he’s a very understanding and progressive drug lord and chooses not to break our legs for being broke just yet.

Trying to leave triggers another conversation.

: You wanna try something new? Knowing you, you’ll get addicted.

The world’s most generous drug dealer proceeds to furnish us with some D-Felon, the third and final activated PPEC in the game. Our inventory is full, so Rion injects it right away.

Aside from this lovely gift, we can also talk to the dealer again to get a feel for where to go next.

: He takes care of the plumbing, and he knows a lot about this old hotel.

We have to follow the dealer’s advice to advance the plot.

You need to check the door several times before you get an answer. Annoyingly nothing in the game indicates that this is the case.

: Alright already! What do you want?

: I want to ask you something.

Rion immediately enters without waiting for an answer, triggering a new cutscene.

: What do you want?

: What are you doing?

: Fixing the pipes! This slummy hotel is still using steam heating.

: City power is ridiculously expensive, and besides, supply is very limited.

The scene ends kind of abruptly, but whatever, let’s hear what the repairman has to say about Lilia.

: I dunno if her name is Lilia, but there’s a girl staying in room 304.

Having visited room 304 before, we already know that the girl staying there isn’t Lilia. There’s a slim possibility she might know something, however, so it might be worth paying her another visit.

There are two Recovery Capsules in the repairman’s room. Our inventory is full, but while there aren’t many combat encounters in this stage the ones that do exist are pretty tough so it’s good to keep these items in mind for later.

An Enhanced Rabbit greets us as we step out onto the third floor. He proves surprisingly difficult to subdue.

: What do you want? It’s too late for apologies! I’d rather die, I tell you!!

: Huh?

: Oh! I’m sorry. I thought you were someone else!

: How did you get in here?

: The door was open.

: Oh… Well, you’d better get out of here. This is no place for kids.

: I’m looking for someone - a girl named Lilia.

: Hmm… Don’t know anyone by that name.

Rion leaves, but as with the middleman, there’s a good reason to go back inside.

That being a vial of Nalcon on the back table.

Re-entering and exiting also causes the porter to appear in the corridor outside.

I have a bit of a problem with this little scene.

We know from reading the manager / desk clerk’s body that the porter is the one who killed him. Rion, being the player character, must also know this, along with the fact that the porter is in league with Rita, who explicitly mentions they are searching for Lilia. The guy is a murderer and directly opposed to Rion’s objective, yet Rion doesn’t react even when he is literally within arms reach.

Trouble is, reading the body isn’t necessary to advance the plot. It’s a bonus scene with no triggers attached to it. But it contains such an important piece of information it feels incredibly clumsy for the game to simply not take the fact that you viewed it into account.

We’ll deal with room 301 next time. Things are about to take a dark turn, and not everyone is going to make it through the night.