The Let's Play Archive

I Fell From Grace

by Bacter

Part 2: Work

Episode 2: GRIND

Alright! Welcome back everybody, to the wonderful adventures of Mopey Dick, and the nobody who loves him!

Last time we valiantly succeeded in unlocking our own front door from the inside, and driving to work, probably late.

It's all downhill from here.

If we try to use the car again...

- Now is not the time for shopping,
I have to keep my career from flopping.

I'll say this a lot, but... too late, pal.

So our goal is to get to our desk and accomplish SOMETHING today. No problem, you say?

Ha. Ha ha.

See, there's a design principle in games - you give the player all the space that they'll want and be able to use, and NOT MORE.

Skyrim and GTA are enormous because the whole POINT is faffing about exploring. Story-driven games? Since they're usually collect-a-thons and flag-hunting, you want to give them a limited space to avoid frustration.

Problem is: Henry works


Yes friends, feast your eyes on 36 (I counted!) individual maps. I'm here to tell you, story-wise? This could EASILY be condensed down to 10 or so.

This area (and one other) is actually MOST of what made me decide to do this as an SSLP rather than video: because reading this is going to be tedious (and I really want to capture just how bad it is, so I'm NOT leaving out the boring bits!).

WATCHING me run through this? Completely impossible. I wouldn't subject political prisoners to watching somebody ELSE explore this monster of a workplace.

But that's enough dawdling, we've got some horrible exposition ahead!

As ever, green/yellow (lpix seems to convert the green to yellow sometimes?) is 'interactive', red is 'area transition'.

Despite this clearly being a private parking lot (with a fence and everything!) this city apparently is PRETTY permissive of homeless people just plopping down right in front of businesses.

Frankly, given the tone of this universe, I'm surprised Stinky Pete here hasn't been ripped to shreds by wild dogs already.

- Henry! Dude nah I kicked that to the curb.
Turns out the bitch was stealing all my herb!

You know, I was going to give Henry SOME points for being on friendly terms with this beggar, but I'm pretty sure it's just because this is one of the few social inferiors Henry HAS. They also seem to be at around the same level of respect for others, so, bros!

- Looks like you're late again?
Won't please the corporate elites.

If you don't watch out man,
you'll join me on the streets.

I don't know Stinky Pete's story, but I can already tell he's more responsible and driven than Henry, who is only peripherally aware that coming in late to your job might be bad.

Any luck with the fund raising?

- Hows the fundraising going?
Folks must some money be throwing?

- It's dire, man, when the weather turns to shit,
seems it makes people's generosity take a hit.

There's got to be some name for that incredibly awkward twist they do, with something like NOUN PREPOSITION NOUN AUXILLARY VERB VERB: "I at this phrasing feel disgusted". They do it a LOT.

So: do we force Henry to do one good thing in his life, or do we let him be himself. Don't hold your breath for 'ol Stinky Pete, we're hilariously poor, so this is like $1 difference for him. And this guy is buying weed regularly!

Whatever we pick...

I'm sorry, but I think punctuation is important. One ! is excited or loud. !! is very, !!! is the limits of human expression. I think this guy should be rolling around on the floor with an exploded neck with that level of exclamation.



Yeah, totally. You give 'em a dollar, and they storm the giant gleaming office building, turning it into a hobo nest for the propagation of their species.

- Oh come on Harris, Pete 'aint [sic] harming no one.
Don't you think your reaction is a bit overdone?

(This game thinks ain't is spelled 'aint. This will come up a few times.)

- Listen real, good here,
I'm the chief of security

What I say is law,
and I want to rid this impurity

Yet another time the poetry gets in the way. Is Harris supposed to sound like a regular bigot, or a 'gas 'em all!' full-on Nazi bigot? THE JURY IS OUT.

- Man fuck you dude,
I'm a human being.

Your attitude is fucked,
and bad for your well-being.

- Go back inside, if you wanna play "Harris' Nazi Republic".
I 'aint moving from this spot, the sidewalk is public.

Again, I'm just flabbergasted that Harris doesn't beat Stinky Pete to death with a truncheon here. This makes him a real paragon by this game's standards. You'll see.

- I'll get you both in due time,
that much I can guarantee.

I don't know how and I don't know when,
but you'll both be forced to flee.

Henry is so used to annoying everybody he meets that he doesn't react to this at all, and just asks about the next dumb thing on his mind.

Some weather we're having, huh?

- Some weather we're having right?
I've lost all my potatoes to blight.

Go to jail, Henry. Go to jail, guy that wrote Henry.

- I know man, it's truly insane,
never have I seen this much rain!

- Do you have a place to stay dry at night?
Yours truly is a difficult plight.

- Don't worry 'bout me Henry,
I always land on my feet.

Things always work out,
for your buddy stinky Pete!

Man, it's a good thing SP didn't interpret that as an offer of help, because I guarantee that it is NOT.

Also, saying "I'll be fine" is this game's equivalent of "We're finally safe, it's over." in a slasher movie.

- Unless I want to live on the street,
gotta run, see you later stinky Pete!

Wouldn't want to be you! I'm way better still! Bye! I'm in a position superior to yours! Sorry, I just don't get to say that much!

We finally ingress.

And are immediately accosted by a jerk!

- Uh yes, I actually do, but I don't do interviews.
So to offer assistance, I will have to refuse.

Yeah, Henry is NOT senior enough to be interviewing people.

- Everyone here is so rude! I've been waiting more than an hour!
At this stage my mood is going south, starting to get real sour!

- I'm a perfect fit for the advertised position,
just look at my experience, it's so ample.

Just for the type of work the team is doing,
with lots of test on human tissue sample.

So, just a little interview tip for you goons out there:

If a place makes you wait an hour during your interview, the job has to be AMAZING (or you have to be desperate) for that not to be kind of a deal-breaker right there.

And if one of those things are true, then venting to some rando who actually works at the place is a TERRIBLE idea. Don't be this guy, is what I'm saying.

Also: this places works with 'human tissue samples'. So... I guess they do genetics? Or they're working with HeLa cells or something, because unless this place is Umbrella Corp, getting live human tissues and experimenting with viruses (Henry claimed to be looking at a flu report last night) is....

This place IS going to be Umbrella Corp. I mean, the intro probably gave that away but, presumably THIS guy shouldn't know.

- Sorry, I really can't help you.
Just wait for the interview...

- Man, this is such bullshit.
You're lucky I don't throw a fit!

Buddy, I wish you WOULD. I could use some light entertainment, and I'm sure Harris would appreciate it too.

In keeping with my desire to praise everything I don't hate, the art is really pretty good.
I know some of you out there hate pixelart, but I'm a fan, and this style in particular. Not over-cutsey, just abstract enough for you to get the idea while still filling in the details yourself.

This looks EERILY like the lobby of a high-tech place I interviewed at, so the details are good.


- I'm so excited for the opportunity to join the graduate program!
I hear the competition is really tough with lots of good applicants,
but I've been prepping for this opportunity since my final exam!

- I have just majored in particle physics,
top of not just my class but also state!

I worked really hard both day and night,
because I feel working here is my fate!

Ok, Bacter with another little piece of career advice. Do NOT make a single job the entire focus of your career - you could have the flu the day of your interview, or the place could secretly be Umbrella Corp, and the you're just SOL.

Also of note: this place employs biochemists, virologists, AND particle physicists? I think the government is legally required to send in an elite strike team of macho guys and one cool outsider with a mysterious past to be the only survivor, to destroy a company when they're like this.

I mean, it's one thing if this is some giant state-sponsored lab, but what business on earth...

- That guy two seats over is an absolute pain!
Nonstop complaining, driving everyone insane!

- We all know the interview process takes time,
but I wouldn't give him a job, he ain't worth a dime!

I hear you, man. By the laws of this universe, he will now be your boss, and hit on your wife awkwardly.


- Hi good morning!
How are you today Dawn?

What's up with the empty boxes?
Are all the doughnuts gone?


- Good morning to you Henry,
the treats run low at seven.

You're aware what time it is?
It's actually twenty to eleven!

- Actually you're wanted in meeting room number one.
Given how long they've been waiting, if I were you I'd run.

- Remember to stay clear of elevator three.
It still gets stuck between floors your see.

Wow. We are LATE! I get the sense that this isn't anything approaching Henry's first infraction, so I'll be boggled if we get through today intact.

Also: no elevator 3. Got it. At a giant successful research lab, shouldn't that be "elevator 3 is closed for repairs?"


You know what, Henry? I can believe it. I truly can.

When this game was first released, they didn't restrict you driving around, so I literally drove back home to look for it. Driving takes 0 time (unless it's a flag), so nothing CHANGED, but boy that was aggravating!

No, instead...

- One more thing Dawn,
I've done it again!

I lost my badge somewhere,
sorry to be a pain.

Great, we're rhyming pain with again. This has been pointed out in the thread, but still, bad form writers. Nobody is THAT fancy.

- Today is really not your dad, huh?
I'll help you one last time.

But don't overstay in work today,
these don't record overtime.

Hmmmmm..... so it doesn't record once it's past working hours? INTERESTING. Also, sorry if you ever wanted this back! This is our badge now, and we'll never find our real one! Henry, ladies n' gents!


- Unless you've got tickets to the ballet
I'm much too busy so please go away

Even if you do,
I hate you, so skidoo.


- Dawn warned me that this elevator gets stuck between floors every now and then.
I once got stuck in an elevator, and it's not something I'd like to do again.


With "WC" I think we can establish that this is some flavor of British. That's "Water Closet", or bathroom for we 'Muricans.

Funny story, my parents went to England long long ago, before I guess people know about our Americanisms, and confused the heck out of their hosts asking for the bathroom. "You... want to take a bath?"


- The door is alarmed and leads to the fire escape stairwell.
How to get here is part of onboarding for all personnel.

Sure, stairwell rhymes with personnel.

Now, time for a quick diversion into the BATHROOMS WOOOO


- I studied so hard to escape my small Minnesota town.
I was sure once I came here, I'd no longer feel so down.

Ugh. Maybe in PODONK Minnesota you over-share by the urinals, but you're in the BIG LEAGUES now buddy. You INTERNALIZE that pain, and LASH OUT AT OTHERS with it!

Ok, that was boring. Back outside!


Henry! You giant perv, don't go in here!

This is another baffling decision. There are a bunch of women's restrooms in this building, all fully drawn, none recycled, and none with anybody in them or anything to interact with.

You know, I would have been fine with like "I can't go in there / I'm sure I'd give the women a scare!"

That took me 0 seconds to write, and it's in the top 20% of rhymes for this game.

Well, back out to the lobby.


- I don't have access to this room,
I'd need an IT badge I assume.


Fun fact: Henry works on THIS side. No, nobody tells you that! Yes, it seems like this is a restricted area!

I think you're supposed to figure out that he's still in this section because of what a colossal failure he is, and I'm not even sure that's unfair of them to expect.

It's starting to hit me how much ground we have to cover.

At least I know the second floor has some... some choice bit of dialogue in them. Let's goooo!


At least they give you these directories on each floor. Of course, if, like me, you went top to bottom, you still don't find the meeting room for another half-hour or so. Ah well!


There is just so, so much in this game that doesn't need to be there. I mean, I appreciate flavor as much as the next guy, but...

Car for sale!

- Car for sale! Very low mileage! Only owned by one previous guy!
Come on people, I need the money! First to see it will buy!


Changes to canteen opening hours

- Due to the low update on taco Tuesday and TFI Fridays,
Going forward we'll be closing early on both of those days.


This noticeboard is not for advertising stuff for sale!

- Please note that this space is for company communications only!
It is NOT a place for you to sell stuff, or go on about being lonely!


Staff christmas party - important!

- Because of the poor performance to date in the fiscal year,
the Christmas party is canceled until profits begin to appear.

You know, if this is a giant R&D place, they are probably funded through federal/private grants, in these giant, decades-long pipelines. There aren't really 'slow years' like that. There are development years, then massive celebrations or devastation if their main projects go bad. And big successful places usually have enough going that this wouldn't happen.

Oh, management are just amoral jerks? Ahhhh, got it.


Well, we're hours late to a super important meeting with our boss, no reason not to grab a quick bite!


- This food was served up lukewarm...
But around here, that's within the norm...

- It's so noisy in here, I can barely think.
And this steak is a little bit too pink...

- I'm running late for a meeting,
I can't perform well without eating.

Nothing like a good lukewarm, uncooked steak to get you going!

Also, apparently this kind of insane tardiness is just company culture. Good to know!



- Make sure your report is on time this week.
If you want, I can show you my spreadsheet technique.

- I think I've got a pretty good handle on things.
My report this week will be fit for kings!

This is the kind of gripping, spreadsheet-based dialogue I'm happy to put off the plot for. Thrill me, office peons!

- I was nearly mugged, or murdered on my way to work!
Some junkie jumped in front of my car and went berserk!

- I don't know why you insist on driving through downtown.
Just take the highway, bypass it all, by going around!

I guess the highway is the symbol of giving up on the downtown and disconnecting from your fellow man, but I dunno, I might take his advice if a junkie attacked my car on my regular drive.

- They're conducting an audit on our department accounts.
Make sure we correctly tally all our purchase order amounts.

- I'll get on that right after lunch.
There are mistake in there - I have a hunch!


- You know these two standing around the water cooler all day?
What exactly do they do around here? Do they have any sway?

- Beats me, they never seem to work, so they must be department heads!
If they did any less work, I think they'd have to be provided with beds!


- This stew is the worst!
No way is this bratwurst!

- Don't say that so loud, guy!
If Doris hears you, she'll make you cry!

Ok here we go. Doris - lunchlady of DOOM. So far 0 people have liked her food, and she sounds mean.


- If you think we work harder because of posters you're moronic.
We waste so much time talking about them. I guess it's ironic...

I think by the time you're wasting LOTS of time talking about a poster, you've sort of lost your intellectual high ground.


- Eww what's in this stew?
Does this look like hairs to you?

- Yep sure does, that's really bad!
I'd go and complain, but Doris seems mad.

Starting to get a rough character sketch of Doris here... almost as if she's.... unsympathetic in some way?


- Just your standard trash can. Nothing unique...
Some food, and a bank statement that's bleak.

I love it. I genuinely love it. This game has such a talent for stuffing dumb fake pathos into everything.



- These meals have been under lamps to stay heated.
They're starting to lose color. They look so defeated.

For the record, I know I'm making you do this, but HENRY. GO. TO. YOUR. MEETING.


And here's the woman herself! Doris chops... something... with a vacant look in her eyes. A promising start!

What's today's special?

- What's the special for the day Doris?
I'd kill for your mouse [sic] that's so porous.

Please let that be a sic

- I've already told you Henry,
I won't serve you a scab.

Not until you've paid up,
and settled your entire tab.

Awww, not even ONE s...scab?

What's my tab at?

- So I'm afraid to ask,
What's my tab at?

It must be a fair bit,
but let's not have a spat.

Yeah, how mad can you be at sweet 'ol He...

- It's at six hundred bucks,
and you better pay up quick.

I'm not running a soup kitchen,
I'll fucking chop off your dick!

OK! Character sketch has changed somewhat!
Somewhat... abruptly!

Leaving aside the question of how Henry ran up a SIX HUNDRED DOLLAR tab with somebody who is this unhinged and mad about not getting paid.... Doris I... I might have to go to HR about this.

- Ehm... wow ok, calm down.
I should get going, maybe get out of town.

The people at table three say there's hair in the stew

- The people over at table three,
a startling discovery did declare.

It would seem that your meat stew,
is full of nasty clumps of hair.

Henry, knowing what you know now, are you CERTAIN telling Doris this is good for them? Or for you?

- ...

- ...

- ...

- People lie Henry,
they lie all the time.

Lying is a nasty thing,
they should make it a crime.

Yeah I've absolutely killed that whole table. Sorry guys! I did it because I have terrible impulse control! And I'm the protagonist! Wink!

Gotta run!

- Gotta run, hun!

Exactly what I'd say to Doris at this point.


- I have no business in this kitchen,
even if my cooking is bitchin'.


You know what? I'm on Doris' side.

OK! Back into the main hall!


- A fine assortment of cheap knock-offs, from just about every brand.
But with a price so high, you'd think they had been made by hand!

Whatever you say, poor-o.


- These lockers are reserved for the work gym members.
To keep their workout clothes, towels and whatnot.

Many of them just re-use their clothes each week,
so there's a nasty smell of sweat permeating this spot...

I'm sure I could get mad about this, but I worked at an Air Force base for a while, at a research lab, and the lockers outside the gym were GRIM, so... more points for realism.



- Excuse me...


Sheesh, never MIND. I mean, not that I DID have any reason for bothering you, but STILL.


- People who lift these dumbbells seem so incredibly obnoxious...
Althought if I did, maybe I would've been able to carry more boxes...

You won't appreciate this until later, but this is a REALLY crappy thing for Henry to say. Yes it's related to that Important Box at home.



- Now is not the time,
to work on my physique.

Not while my career,
is looking so bleak.

Yeah.... almost like we have some kind of.... meeting to get to? Some meeting that we're hours and hours late to?


- This water has extra electrolytes added to it.
Gives you extra energy so you can really commit!


- Anyway, so we all finish up our drinks,
then I ask Doris if it's her that stinks.

- She reaches into her pants, and pulls out a handful of shit!
Woman is smiling, staring at me asking if I want to eat it!

- Bullshit! Doris is crazy but she's far from that insane!
Why would she do that? What could she possibly gain?

- She wants to intimidate me for taking "her" parking spot!
And if you don't believe that it happened, just ask Scott!!

- You should just pack up and flee the state in that case.
If Doris is after you, you'll disappear without a trace.


- Hahaha yeah right! Doris doesn't scare me!
I'm a black belt in judo, it's her that should flee!

- Maybe so, but Doris is a black belt in madness.
Trying to stand up to her will only end in sadness.

Ok. Clock me out, put me in a coffin, and ship me home, I Fell From Grace, you have OFFICIALLY lost me.

What in the... WHAT!? I think this might have been my first incredulous out-loud laugh of the game. Not my last!

Is this your idea of building suspense about Doris? Having her just... poo-poo right in her dress at a social hour, grab it, and hold it while staring down a guy that took her parking space?


I really did mean that this game was written by an edgy Jr. Higher. Nobody else could seriously present this to the public. No WAY.

Well. Let's uh... let's keep on.... truckin'.


- All of these gym showers look the same.
Even the ring of hairs surrounding the drain.

At least Henry doesn't seem shaken! Not even enough to stop him comparing shower drains instead of going to his MEETING.
(In case you're wondering, no, there are no flags, and this game doesn't count time. We'd get the same result bee-lining for the meeting as we do with all this faffin').

Ok. Back to the main hallway!


- God look at this, somebody should clean this mess!
I don't know whom, probably the janitors I guess.

Sure Henry. Whatever. What is CLEARLY a murderess is running the cafeteria, hates you, and you're about to get fired, but yeah, this MESS.


Ok HERE we go.

H...hey guys...

Well, he could be more furious I guess...

- I'm very sorry sir, I couldn't find-

- I don't care for your excuses!
I curse the day you were hired!

If it wasn't for your mentor here,
I would already have you fired!

OK, character design is telling us a lot, and dialogue fills in the rest.

Our mentor is a scientist, looks like Dr. Light, and doesn't hate us.

Our BOSS is a businessman, short balding and angry, and hates us a lot.

A pretty standard setup! I'd say nothing groundbreaking so far, but Doris is... unique.

- Sir, I promise this is the last time I'm late.
It's just my wife is very sick, and losing all this weight...

- Spare me your sob stories, this is a place of work.
Get out of my sight, go do your tasks, before I go berserk.

Well that went well!

If we try to go back in...

- I'm not going back in there for a while,
my manager's in there and he's truly vile.p/b]

Yeah I mean... he seems abrasive? But the poor performance is on YOU, Henry m'boy.

Last door!



- I don't think I've seen so many chemicals in any other place!
One whiff of these fumes would send someone up into space!

Henry the microbiologist has never seen a janitor's closet worth of chemicals in one place ever.

And also instantly thinks about how BLASTED he could get on some bottles of drain cleaner. Isn't this place supposed to be hard to work at?


- These really badly need to be rolled out and empited outside...
It smells like something crawled in one of these and died...

And we're back on the HENRY GO DO WORK train!

On that for a moment... at least the receptionist told us which room to find. Now we're just adrift, left to randomly open doors until we find Henry's office. As you're hopefully getting the idea, this is a giant office building, and this amount of faffing is frankly murder on the pacing.

And while you CAN get lucky or rush, there are must-have items tucked away in VERY out of the way places that we have to crawl to find.

I used to get mad at games that had a lot of locked doors (Silent Hill etc.), but after seeing the alternative...

Back at the elevator, if we try to go to the third floor...

- I don't have a keycard that will open the elevator door,
once it reaches the third floor.

Locked area until later. Got it.

Fourth floor ho!



Ah yes, TOTALLY a place we should be hanging out in. Henry is ABSOLUTELY smart enough not to crush his arm in one of these things.


- The cables are just moving about in the open air...
If they were to snap, it'd be a very messay affair...

Got kind of an oddly vivid imagination there, bud!


- The sound from these motors can be quite deafening.
But they work hard to keep the elevators circulating.

Nothing important here for now. Back to the main hall!


Woah. Nice place! Stupid place to be if your boss comes back, as he VERY LIKELY might! But nice.


- Numerous reports from the previous fiscal year.
I wonder if he takes credit for all this work here.


- Books of "Cambodian Photography" makes it seem like he has class,
when in reality the facade is just as transparent and fragile as glass.


- He outfits this of his with items of decadence,
to decieve himself into thinking he's part of the excellence.

Henry is so pathetically petty and jealous of those in power over him. I mean, sure, some people get art books just to look cool, but maybe the boss ENJOYS Cambodian Photography? Maybe he has all those reports because he's very involved in the business?

No it's not LIKELY, but this is clearly just the bitterest imaginable failure, grumbling at all the nicer things his boss has.



- If you're seeing the boss man, this is where you wait.
Sitting here just waiting is something I really hate...

You know, some people occasionally see their boss about GOOD things, Henry. Not YOU, but SOME people.


- There's some interesting news on this notice board!
They've finally opened hte medical trial patient ward!



As ever, Henry's mightiest efforts might as well just not try.

- This door is locked, I cannot gain access.
What's behind there I can only guess.

Imagination is fun!


Looks like top floor is labs. And Henry must want to admire the view...

Hey, what are...




Huh. Well, guess that about wraps it up for this Let's Play.

It was a short story, but stupid. And I'm glad it ended bef... wait, what?

Ohh. Of course.

Of COURSE that's what this is! We open the window, sidle along the fourth floor ledge, then hop back in another window! Totally something that should be allowed from day 1, well before this is ever something we'd want to do! Great!


- I don't recognize any of these chemicals, they all seem exotic.
Perhaps an experimental treatment, for those gone psychotic.

Our protagonist, ladies and gentlemen. Either such a gifted chemist he can pick out antipsychotic drugs from unlabeled beakers, or a pro BS artist. I'll let you pick.


This takes us back to the main hall.


- I don't have the right keycard for this gate.
It will never unlock no matter how long I wait.

So yeah, that's what this does. Gets us past this locked gate. Again: why? GUESS WE'LL FIND OUT SOMEDAY!


Yep... labs.


- Very expensive equipment used for analyzing blood.
Mostly to see if prototype meds are working or a dud...


- All the desks on this floor seem totally unused.
Not like the other floors, where they get used and abused.

Man, that's some equipment if it can test blood and see how well any medicine is working.

He said sarcastically.

Back into the main hall, and finally...


- I don't have a keycard that will open this door.
I don't have any clearance at all for this floor.

Yeah, why ARE you here!

Back through the window, to the other side of the gate.

Sure hope none of those security cameras are working! Or we'll probably get arrested!


- This vending machine has just been comissioned.
It has yet to start it's snack dispensing mission.

I can't possibly tell you that I hate you often enough, Henry.




- This machine works by creating a cloud of vapor,
to mix up with any substances placed therein.

A secondary chamber combines all the molecules,
and the new compound comes out of this metal fin.

Hear that? THAT my friends, is the sound of every chemist who reads this LP screaming. IF NOTHING ELSE, THAT'S NOT WHAT AN INCUBATOR EVEN ROUGHLY DOES.

And with that, we have checked out everything there is to check on this HALF of the office building.

In an effort to keep these posts to a SOMEWHAT sane length, I'm splitting this update into two. Keep in mind, that in this giant, giant update, we have managed to 1) be late to a meeting.

It'll take us another update of this length to 2) sit at our desk.

I Fell From Grace, everybody!