Part 2: Comet 2:8
Jesus saves by not actually saving, instead giving passwords for having pressed Select. Probably Niahak's way of finding just enough substitutes for hiragana, the alphabet wisely removes capital B-K and adds apostrophes, sun, and a happy face in line with spelling reform I've advocated since *ea' s
Sadly, icosatuple happiness is neither r|code nor an actual word. While this system might seem frustrating, Jesus is interesting among horror-type games in that you can't screw yourself over or die, so it's only an issue when we somehow decide we're done with this wonderful game. Why yes, this does somewhat ruin the tension, or it would if this game weren't the wonderful game that it is. Let's stick with save states for now.
We arrive on the nebulous non-comet Comet via the airlock. The white box to the left is our escape pod, equipped with an arrow to inform people which end goes up and a panel for screw attacks (sadly, no space jump). The switch by the wall's giant barcode is either impossible to reach or suggests our escape pod's around three feet high, while the right wall reminds us that budget constraints led to insufficient sheetrock for paneling on the ship. While the rest of the cockpit is an acceptable noise level, the senior and/or recently knighted Shadow is far too quiet, for sure. Apparently invisible, Fojii (the robot thing) waits in the black.
Oh? Something's rolling. Oh! It's Fojii! Fojii, do you understand me? It's Hayao, we met before.
After a brief musical interlude and philosophical inquiry, he thankfully proceeds to remember exactly as much as allows the game to have as little direction as it can.
(Not a lot)
This is the Comet. You're Fojii.
Me Hayao. This a ship. We're in space.
Hayao! Been a bit.
We lost contact with the Comet. What exactly happened?
That's a fair question; we were in enough contact to know they found gas and the problem lights got to us somehow, so unless there's some slight inconsistency in Jesus' writing there has to be more going on. My guess is that only Hayao! "lost contact" as the Comet (not comet) just hoped he would leave them alone.
Earlier, Hayao! and Huyler posted:
So I've been thinking for a few months that if Eline asked me out I'd say yes but then she smiled when Bellini told a joke and did sit-ups and I feel like she cheated on me but I really want to make her apologize so I can be there for her and compliment her because sometimes people can be really rude in space and I would
Um, yeah great, Hayao. Listen, we need to harvest this ga-
and then she tells me Carson's so cool with his mugs but she asks me to listen to her Mega Man chiptunes and she's just playing with me and she has to know how I'll take that and I have my own anime space mugs but she only complimented those when she
Yep, really important space mission. Gas harvesting. Reason we're in space.
But I even got the top score on Morph Monster and Balkas ate 5 XL hamburgers and
What was that? You're breaking up. Yep, it's the communicator. It's dead. Space dead. Just really can't communicate at all.
Should I tell Gingrich?
Communication's really gone. For sure.
I miss Eline.
A strange being got onto the ship.
Everyone? Eline! Is she safe?
Vindicating that decision, Hayao! posits either everyone got on the ship, casting doubt on Fojii's ability to distinguish between one and seven billion, or that everyone's a strange being, letting his presumably nature shine through. This is wisely ignored.
We ran away together But I got lost. I don't know
What's the Comet's layout?
My memory's shaky There should be a circuit I could connect to close by.
4 buttons which one?
Umm I don't know.
A data circuit's here. How to use it...
There's plumbing. Lots of valves.
Sirius on the launch section.
Only one craft can use it at a a time.
A circuit. Let's try it.
OK, taking data. We're OK now.
Using this isn't doing much.
Stop it, what if something comes? We need a card anyway...
The valves are normal. Better not to mess with them.
Now, tell me about the ship.
We're in the airlock. There are 4 floors on the ship, each with its own rooms. This airlock is the entire 5th floor.
Not being briefed on this ship we were sent to explore, it's far from clear how the game wants us to proceed. I'll be taking things a floor at a time starting from the bottom. Once again, don't worry about keeping track of the layout; I'll make it clear where we are.
Here's Floor 1, and the only time the game lets us act without a menu. Each floor is arranged as a cylinder with the elevator in the center and several rooms branching from the outer wall. Hayao!, without a helmet or any place to put one but with a vintage Macintosh on his back, maneuvers one step for every press of the D-Pad, while holding down a direction does nothing at all. Essentially, while Hayao! has a walk cycle, pressing a direction advances it by a third, resulting in the most awkward staccato movement I've ever seen in a game. Hayao! swings his arms as though he read a book about walking, saw that some people like to move their arms, and decided he'd better get on that, and the sound design wore at the crew for seconds until they were lucky enough to find a metal thing.
The MP4 of that video is 512 kb.
Here in Control Room 12, the giant Ready sign helpfully prepares us for using both buttons and the giant black switch to play Adventure with the best quality mono speaker space can boast.
Look and Search let us play the Wii or see a collection of white markings (I think that option's meant to be Analyze Panel, but it could also be an absolute value of zetta-Ph or a poor attempt at palindromes from someone lacking eyes). Unfortunately, we can't examine the pipes that go nowhere or the giant and uninspired Libya-esque wall scroll from
A switch is here.
Hayao, you'll just break it.
While all of this is clearly for the benefit of the
Complex devices. Can't use.
And the Charger lets us see this:
How can we use this?
Just press the button. Even you could.
But Fojii won't let us do what he thinks we can do and we're done doing nothing in the room. That said, lest you thought Fojii was becoming the competent one:
Ahh, a bit tired.
Fine, I've just never walked this much
We went down an elevator and walked a few feet. Fojii is the gooniest member of this crew besides almost everyone else.
Unlike in most doomsday space games, space engineers clearly realized the pros of redundant design, installing dozens of "Hail Ship" switches (you'd hate to forget which to use in the high stress of needing to hail a ship) and no less than five monitors to keep tabs on the changes in green. That said, the design still received criticism. Many found the lack of switches for replying to ships a design flaw, and there were complaints about five of the middle Hail switches being dummied out just before launch.
Oh, a scrap of paper.
The first time I played this, I completely missed that the paper can eventually be read; right now we just acknowledge it exists. In fairness, Hayao may be distracted by the post-iodine colors and riveting programs. Also, given the ventilation and the lack of a horizontal seat, I'm not convinced that thing to the front-left is a chair and not just a pillar that gets in the way.
Someone's back here.
Less distracting, of course, was the human-sized man on the floor. Extending his arms to imply a great sacrifice without having to move or get up, der Deutsche Kapitän ( ドイツのキャプテン ) (yes, it's tricky to tell who is who) carries what's certainly an expression and proceeds with the most moving, emotional death in the history of this scene:
Captain! Hold on!
Hayao ? A monster is on the Comet I'm done for.. Find survivors.. run. It.. seems to use heat energy.. don't use fire.
Or be biological, I suppose. Unfortunately, our plan to burn the ship will have to wait.
Where are the rest?
No idea, look. This.. take my card.
No idea where. There's a biosensor in my room
Truly, the most moving death scene in gaming, up there with The Boss and Sniper Wolf.
Well, we now have a goal, to find the monster and kill it without entropy being involved. I'm not entirely sure how Herr Huyler gathered all this, but our search for a perfect crystal at -273º C will have to wait. There are important walls to review.
(Also, we have to Search his Card to pick it up.)
Crumpled. Is it trash?
Hmm.. "biosensor in my room" ?
The Paper's even worse, requiring us to take and then search it (in that order) to read what was already told to us seconds ago. It must be embarrassing to go through the trouble of writing a note on your death bed only to find it redundant right as you dot all the i's.
It's on autopilot. Better not touch it.
It is a display.
Let's do other stuff
Captain was defending the cockpit.
You might think biosensor information would be accessible from the computer where we were, but we're Hayao!, and that's a shaky proposition at best. We're done with Floor 1 and and ready to go to F2, where Huyler took a cue from the Martha Stewart Space Catalog and chose to paint the walls a festive green. The first door is locked, as the captain's card doesn't given entry to rooms on the ship that he ran. Bizarrely, private quarters are unlocked.
Room #1 on this floor holds a thermal D-Evice, researching what happens when giant pink flashlights waste all the power on a ship. A warning to turn off this machine might have been slightly more help than "Don't light fires in space", but I'm not one to tell a Captain what to do.
No, I am. This doesn't help protect your crew. In space.
What's on the screen up here?
Info on the thermal ar ea.
It's at 10k degrees. Be careful.
(It's only 10 kelvin. He's exaggerating )
My best guess about the point of this machine? Envisioned by the captain as the punchline to an assuredly comical and merriment-rousing "Space Heater" pun, the setup failed to translated to German to Japanese to English to all Earthly languages and proved dangerous in the event of heat-eating bio-monsters or the need to use that power to run the ship. After an initial pushback that made him paint the research red with rage, it was retooled as a manufacturing plant to exploit the novelty of toys that say "Made in SPACE!!!". The structure cost 3 Billion Yen.
Hayao can barely process what he sees!
A normal CPU tower.
It's too small for me However
I can't use this.
Switches are scuffed. It's sort of strange.
The fact that things people use show signs of having being used is undoubtedly the strangest thing that's strange, far more so than the murdered captain or the robot thing next to your feet. Anyway, there's no monster, despite us having been more or less told it was here. The real purpose of coming here is to see this:
No useful info is here.
Lots of switches for the device.
I'm pretty sure Hayao would look at a still-uncharged phone and say "Way too many buttons on this thing. Not going to try." His claims that there's nothing to gain from technology are merely what he tells himself to cope.
Next is the Machine Room, the most useless room in the game.
Cables and locker panels..
Hey, anyone there!
That's what's in the Machine Room. Moving on.
The Lab Room is next, complete with less-than-inspired modern art and a door someone paused. I get the feeling they drew too many parts of ships first and tried to justify the "assets" later on.
Lockers are numbered.
Incidentally, it's a good thing they numbered those lockers. It would be easy to forget which was yours.
What is ?
Bloodstains.. up to a locker!!
Glass shards. A card, too.
A surv. camera
A recording device. A report is listed here
Flask shards here.
From another room?
Detective Hayao, as always, is quick to ask the important questions at hand.
Locked. There's a card slot over there..
A card in the slot opens it.
I can likely use this.
I like the way this (and the earlier talk of things being hot) work(s) to set up our character's growth. The pivotal monster battle comes when Hayao masters safety scissors and is finally allowed to use a fork.
I'm intentionally putting off opening the locker since I want to end on that scene, but the only other thing we can do is look at the recording. For now we can only half-see the description of the footage because
The property of clearly demonstrating things in a game.
A property this doesn't have, as it's not a clear game.
It is not.
The recording ends abruptly. Some sort of accident ?
Let's bring it to Carson later...
Following that, we're given the first of around three "puzzles" Enix bothered to make. This is really only an adventure game inasmuch as there are menus to make a visual novel marginally harder to play.
Poor Balkas We are all very sad about video games man and his inability to eat five XL hamburgers while he plays games. That first chapter did such a good job of having us bond with these characters, but, for the sake of this playthrough, I'll try hard to fight back the tears.
How? Such a pity.
Hayao We should search.
No injury. Oh? A small prick on his finger.
Doesn't look fatal How strange
Mysterious. Blood was found outside the locker, but Balkas is locked inside it and his card's on the far side of the room. We'll be seeing the monster next update, but rest assured it could not lock Balkas in, nor could it manipulate cards. The best two hypotheses at the moment are these:
Option A: Balkas, seeing evidence of interstellar life and his lack of either uniqueness or value, faces existential despair. First, he opens the locker and dramatically throws his card several cm away, cursing his poor arm strength as he gradually gets back his breath. Alone in the dark and uncaring locker, he proceeds to kill himself by hemoglobin test, scattering B blood on the floor in a rebellion against a Japanese Brazilian society tying it to being active, passionate, and strong, as well as making life hard for his crewmates who'll now have to clean. As his eventual infernal torment turns him to thorns on which harpies can feed (see Inferno, Canto 13) he bemoans the existential egg on his face but takes pride in improved looks and the novelty of women paying attention to him. The symbolism of his death is lost on the crew.
Option B: Jesus does not know what mysteries mean.
We'll go on never mentioning this next time, when we'll also explore the upper two floors of the ship. In the meantime, however, let's hear Hayao's thoughts on the terrible fate of his game-playing partner and "friend".
Fan theory: We are the robot.