Part 5: Episode 5: The lab goons admonish us sternly.Well our Immercenary safari bus is runnin' great, so let's take it out for a spin! We'll take a quick drive around the block to demonstrate some of the basic game mechanics.
As soon as we step out of the DOASys, we run into a pack of Goners.
Using the map/radar, you can get a decent understanding of the type of swarm in the area.
The circular dots are Goners. All enemies have their own icon. It's very helpful!
Well, we're out here to hunt these little rodents, let's blast one!
Bah-blam blam! Only takes about 4 shots.
I locked on my crosshair to help identify what I'm aiming at, but this is not actually necessary for shooting. The aiming is very forgiving, so I don't typically lock on.
That was pretty sweet. Ready to do that hundreds of times? Don't worry, I'll do the real grinding off the thread.
You might feel a warming sense of accomplishment. In fact, if you were a lower rank than what you've killed, your rank goes up by one! But, there's one unintuitive detail that's very important to combat!
Once killed, all enemies leave behind a static field for about 10 seconds. If you actually want the stat boost for this kill, you have to touch this static field! The game refers to this as huffman-ing. The game does explain this, but much, much later.
I will be huffman-ing as much as possible. In fact, the enemies do kill each other occasionaly (this counts as a kill for you), and you can still huffman the prey in these situations.
So, I slay and huffman the goners in the area. Let's move on!
Ah, a mere 20 paces from the DOASys, we see our first item in the wild!
Also, the buildings in the distance have a placeholder texture! Sadly, this is a pretty common occurance, but only at a distance.
These summaries are very useful, which much more specific information than what the characters in the DOASys will tell us.
As you can see here, we have a multi-use item. Naturally, the game also features single-use items. They game gave us a few items already (Annaballs, Chaff, Ashflay), but these are all single-use items. In that sense, single-use items are very simple to understand.
The multi-use items simply mean that they can used as a different type of ammunition. All multi-use items use up some amount of your Offense, which you'd be using for regular attacks anyway (your regular attack is called "Default" in the inventory). All of these multi-use items use up more Offense than your regular attack, of course. A regular attack uses about 1/4th of an Offense unit (I think we currently have 8 Offense).
Stunya says it uses 3 "A"... Agility? Okay, well, I wasn't aware of that. Obviously, I just don't use Stunya! We'll test it out.
You can put an item on all three of the 3DO controller buttons: A, B, C. So, it's quite simple to imagine that you would equip at least one default shot, and mix it up with the other two. Just for the record, I usually end up adding "Hex" to one of the three for the majority of the game... once I find it.
Bah-blam blam! Wooo!!!
I chill out on a Defense-replenishing spire, and it starts to go dark...
Storms are a pretty important part of the game. For a few reasons.
1. "Ammo Algorithms Off-line". This is poorly worded. What it actually means is that you can't use any items. All you can use is your "Default" weapon. So, we couldn't use our Stunya now even if we wanted to.
3. Spires are inoperable. The spires that normally refill your Offense or Defense will hurt you, and pretty quickly! The DOASys doesn't count; it always works.
4. There are more dangerous enemies. Yes, I put our Immercenary Safari bus in danger and I'm not sorry about it. In fact, I was trying to get us killed. I only saw Goners, though, so I'm starting to think the game is going easy on us while we're getting started.
Spires have only a limited amount of resource to refill your stats with, but they refill themselves. This happens during storms. It's a nifty touch to the game, since you can watch a spire slowly refill as it's being struck by lightning!
Neat! That was actually pretty hard to get a screen capture of. In the process, I learned that the DOASys also gets struck by lighting.
Storms provide one final, minor mechanism. Boss lairs disappear in this time. It's a minor point, but worth knowing if you're confused about where the hell your destination went.
The game will tell you when storms are technically over. Notice the transparent building to the left, which just happens to be a boss lair.
I added a screenshot for this, just because I don't want you under the impression that I'm not hurting for Agility. I've been running out of Agility a lot. It sucks. Please feel sorry for me.
Finally, I find a creature I've been looking for: a Picasso whom we met in the DOASys. Notice that his rank is 254! If we kill him, we'll gain a level!
I sniped him at a distance and got him! Our rank is now 254! I successfully close the gap and perform the huffman by walking through his static field, and therefore raise our stats a miniscule amount.
I'm sure there's a highlander joke in here somewhere, but it's not coming to me.
As luck would have it, I spot another Picasso! Well, actually, I spent a while looking...
Hmm... this one's level is 253. This is not a coincidence.
The game intentionally increases Picasso levels by one to help us gain levels. I believe it will do this until we reach level 128 or something like that. So, that's a very manageable number of kills to attain to make it halfway through the rank ladder. We just have to find them, but they grow in numbers at some point. Also, killing other high-level enemies would gain us a rank, so we're not limited to just Picasso.
Another rank achieved. Huffman was also performed without incident.
And ah! Another item behind him!
We already have one that the game gifted to us at the very start of the game. They're nice enough to tell us a summary of the item anyway.
By the way, these summaries only pop up once per item, so if you play I urge you not to not to skip them!
I enjoy the scenery while I'm out. There are some pretty unusual buildings, above is a mundane one for comparison.
They couldn't waste polygons, so pretty much all buildings have just 4 sides, so they got creative with the textures...
Spotted another Ashflay.
And finally, another new item!
These are great to have, especially while we're weak. If we use it, we get a free ride to the the DOASys.
However, I don't really expect I'll be using one. I want to experience death at least a few times just to demonstrate.
No parking at the pyramid. Makes sense.
Medusa, the easiest boss, lives here. I'm not driving the Safari bus in there just yet.
We are not far from the DOASys, as you can see here. We're at the red block just to the west.
This is about as far as I went in our trip around the block, and we got plenty of items.
There is a red spiral-like structure to the west of the DOASys, this is the other boss structure I briefly mentioned before.
It's probably clear by now, but all the red structures are boss structures.
And, just because it's not likely to occur, I took a few screenshots to demonstrate one of the boss lairs disappearing as a storm rolls in.
Let's check in with the geeks!
Well, we've made a couple ranks and we've got a decent stock of items. Good work, team.
I'm sure our buddies back at the lab have Febreezed out the charred fleshy stench of Number 4's demise. Let's report back and see what we can learn.
Getting back to the lab is very simple. At any spire (including the the DOASys), we have an option to return to the lab. This is also not well documented. Another quirk is that if you go back to the lab from the DOASys, you will get sent back in a random location. So, I prefer to go outside to a smaller spire and return to the lab that way.
Here we go! We'll make it back in time for half-off Applebee's happy hours appetizers for a limited time only!
If you don't want to read the transcribed version, you may instead watch it on youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k_oEAyYQFYE
Doctor: "... Number Five! ... Number Five?"
Doctor: "... Number Five?"
Doctor: "I need vitals. Now."
Gal: "Pulse 120bp 125 over 90."
Guy: "Sight patterns are stabilizing."
Doctor: "You're okay. You're okay and you're lucky. You've got to keep moving in there! Cover your back!"
Huh? Why am I lucky? I think we only got shot once!
Gal: "You have to fire the instant you get a lock! If you stop to think, it'll be too late!"
Guy: "Okay, these are your stats. Let us know when you're ready to go back in."
At least this guy is up for Applebee's and their low prices, good times, and quick service perfect for business parties please patronize us or we'll go bankrupt... freakin' Applebee's.
Why are the nerds angry with us!?
You're hitting the first of several videos that have assumed we just died. This will get more obvious as time goes on. Because of this, no matter how good you do, the doctor and the girl will always scold you. The guy, on the other hand, is pretty cool about it.
This is only one of a few things I find weird about the videos. I get the impression that not all design decisions were communicated clearly (or on time) to the team that was scripting/filming these cut scenes. In this case, I think that the "Return To Lab" option was added late in the game. Clearly, at some point, the game designers were pretty certain that you'd be dying a lot.
Hey, so that cool guy said we get to check out our stats, let's have at it!
What the hell!! We only got three stat increases? How many huffmans did we succesfully perform anyway!? Looks like we can pull up detailed statistics by pressing the P button...
We did 22 huffmans and got 3 stat increases?! And we have to get up to
As you probably know, I'm not surprised by this one bit. The stat building is remarkably slow to start. This does not bode well for the rest of the game.
Now, if you were just playing the game on your own, I wouldn't blame you for quitting right here. But, luckily you have me to play for you.
Somehow, the stat-building goes much faster as the game progresses. Because of that, it's not nearly as bad as it seems now. But to someone just starting the game, this would be pretty infuriating!
Also I don't think you have to be fully maxed out on stats to win. We'll see.
Well, back into Perfect we go. I'll park us back in the DOASys for now. Next time I intend to interview more people in the DOASys, since I think last time we got a pretty lame batch of information. It'll help flesh out the story for us.
If you feel strongly that we should do something else, feel free to boisteriously express your outrage and demand a course of action. I will consider any unreasonable demand.