Part 12: Wherein Malcolm Goes To HellChapter 7: Wherein Malcolm Goes To Hell
Welcome back to Limbo. Malcolm found himself here after falling off the Ends of the Earth, rather than ending up in whatever afterlife he was destined for. Limbo seems to be populated entirely by various fish-like creatures, one of which - the fish queen - has made herself a major pain in the ass by forcing Malcolm to play (and throw) games of tic-tac-toe.
When we last left off, we'd discovered a potential source of income: the blind junk dealer will trade junk for coins, which we in turn can use to pay off the weirdo
Hmm. Collecting garbage that falls over the cataract must be a principal business activity here in fish world.
There is a suspicious-looking aqueduct/waterslide going into the pile, though.
And over here, there's a place where we can get in. Perhaps the two are connected.
Actually, we need to pull that lever on the side to make it go.
They're so easily impressed.
That was great!
Whee! They could charge admission for that ride!
We successfully snuck onto the garbage pile! We should be able to find some nice garbage up here to trade back to the unsuspecting batfish for enough coin to pay for a cannon ride.
Looks like a fondue set.
I'm surprised how many people throw these away.
That's... a clump of moss. Malcolm's lines are random when searching through this pile, but I'd like to think Malcolm has a bizarre obsession with collecting moss. A fondue set and some moss won't cut it, so let's keep searching.
Geez! Calm down!
There. Is that better?
Nuts. The batfish caught on to our shenanigans, and we didn't have time to collect nearly enough trash to make any headway on our get-rich-quick scheme. The junk collector will happily accept the fondue set, but just like with the sock we gave him earlier, he wants three of them before he'll give us any money, and junk items are not interchangeable. Two socks and a fondue set gets you nothing.
There's only one thing to do.
Once more on the waterslide.
This time, our loot is an old newspaper and some more moss. The garbage pile gives you two (sometimes three) random items from a short list of trash each time you go on the waterslide. You can get a left sock, a fondue set, an old newspaper, a gold key, a clump of moss, a worm, and a half-eaten apple. Among these, only the sock, fondue set, newspaper and key are actually tradeable for money. The batfish will just steal any of the other items if you give them to him, and give you nothing in return.
We need five coins, and each trade-in requires three items of a kind. We bamboozled the guy out of two coins earlier by pretending to be the tax collector, and we found a loose sock and key lying around earlier. That means a minimum of four trips over the waterslide to have a chance of collecting enough garbage. If we hadn't gotten those two coins earlier, that would be seven trips.
This "puzzle" is random, time-consuming, and it sucks. At least the queen isn't constantly dragging us back to play tic-tac-toe though.
Several minutes later, I've collected enough money to pay for our fare, with some random garbage left over.
From there, it's just a matter of giving the coins to the devil fish and getting in the cannon.
And off we go! Where are we going? Come to think of it, that firey arch and devil costume does imply something about our destination, doesn't it. We didn't really think this through, did we.
Ouch! That hurt.
Pluh, pluh! That's the stupidest system I've ever seen.
Well, here we are. Door to the Underworld. That's it right there, I guess. Nowhere to go but forward. At least maybe we won't have to spend eternity failing at tic-tac-toe.
I'm getting tired of this wandering. I'd gladly make doilies again if I could return to Kyrandia.
Bureaucracy is everpresent. There's a bit of a line, too. Let's talk to the guy in front.
How's it going?
I died in a horrible accident. Now, just because I stole cookies when I was a kid, I've been sentenced to eternity in the Underworld!
Yeah, it's a bummer, but... anything's better than being in Limbo.
I don't know, that sounds pretty harsh, man. What about that suave, royal-looking fellow in the chair?
Mr. Levis? Sorry, there must be a typo on the form.
All right, this line is going nowhere fast. Maybe if we lie to the lady behind the desk we can speed this along.
Wait your turn.
Nope. Okay, maybe the guy in front of us in line, then.
May I go ahead of you? It's very important.
What's the rush? Are you a sulphur freak or something?
Nope. There's nothing to interact with in this location other than the people, so to progress, we just need to find the right combination of conversation partner and mood gauge setting. In this case, talk to Irma with the mood gauge set to neutral.
I'm looking for an old fish king's ghost, if he's handy.
To summon a king's ghost, you'll need a Royal Séance.
How do I perform a Royal Séance?
And you'll have to invoke the spirit in the presence of at least seven mortals who really want the king to return.
You get this dialogue regardless of whether you talked to the merman in court about the queen fearing no one except her now-deceased father, so this is another place where the plot can come crashing into you from out of left field if you don't pay attention to every little NPC. It's also kind of strange, because if you make it this far the main obstacle in your way is no longer the fish queen, but this line that won't advance.
Super! A Royal Séance, huh? Let's go find this King Yrgmumph right away!
Right, but to do that, we need to get back to Limbo, and there doesn't seem to be an obvious way b--
Whoop, that solves that I guess. One quick game of tic-tac-toe later, and we're once more free to roam around Limbo. We need to summon up ghost fish-dad, and as it happens, we have almost everything we need already.
But first, we need one more coin. It took me several more trips over the aqueduct to get this done. Now we're ready.
First, we need to provoke the queen into starting another game of tic-tac-toe with us. All it takes is to talk to her with the gauge set to anything other than lying.
After a few moves, we're ready to start the séance. There are seven mermen on the board - seven mortals who you'd think would be pretty keen to have the king back on the throne. (I think you can actually do this with just five of them since the merman in the background and Malcolm count as mortals.)
Next, we'll put this old newspaper on the ground. It's something that lets you see back in time, see?
Finally, we'll take this coin - which bears a portrait of the late king - and rub it against the newspaper.
Begone, you upstart!
If I was you, I'd get out of here quick! He's a ghost and this can't last forever.
Fine by me. Before we go, though, let's have a quick chat with his royal ghostiness.
... or what?
Speaking of worms, now that the fish queen no longer has her webbed paws on the button that controls the collar around Malcolm's neck, we need to get back to the Underworld. Unfortunately, as you might recall...
Racking up enough money to do that is going to take another fifteen or so rides on the goddamn aqueduct. So, screw that. We're not doing that. There's an easier way.
Remember this fish tower holding up part of the aqueduct?
Let's see if this fish wants a worm.
He looks like he'll explode if he eats anything else.
The bottom fish inflated a bit. How about another worm?
The worm is my friend.
Ha! That'll drive the Public Works Department nuts!
Now that we've sabotaged the aqueduct, all we need to do is get and go for another ride.
Ah! Adjusted ballistics! The FUN science!
... and instead of ending up on the trash pile, we get dropped into the Underworld instead! You can do this right from the get-go if endlessly grinding for trash is not to your liking, and why would it be, honestly? Worms are much easier to get hold of, too. Remember that apple we stole from the fish school? Eating it gives you a worm every time, and you can just steal two apples from the school this way and never bother with the trash heap at all. Why the game even gives you the option of doing it the slow, painful way is beyond me.
Either way, now that we're back in the Door to the Underworld, all we need to do is make sure to get ahead of the line so we can get going. Doing that is actually as simple as asking the guy in front of us nicely - but it'll only work after we've already summoned ghost fish-dad, conveniently solving two obstacles at the same time somehow.
How can I refuse such a polite request?
Hey, you're Malcolm! We've been waiting for you! Go right in.
I guess we are kind of overdue. I think we were supposed to end up here after falling off the Ends of the Earth in the first place. Well guys, it looks like we ended up in hell after all. Nothing to do but to step inside and accept our eternal...
... tropical paradise?
Music: Underworld Lobby
What a wonderful... everything!
Ha ha. You funny man! It will take just a moment. Now, our records indicate it has been a bit over two years since you fell off the Ends of the Earth. Is that correct?
Ha ha! Really, it's very nice to have you here now, sir.
I have to admit, this is not what I expected hell to be like. It seems positively welcoming.
Oh, don't worry about that. It's for those dull people who we reject.
Can I go look around and come back later?
Not yet. We've ordered your files from Kyrandia, but we're having trouble getting through.
Always with the bureaucracy.
We have to clear up some of this paperwork first, but then, of course, you'll have Eternity to enjoy yourself.
Sounds like we stumbled on a pretty good ending for Malcolm here, guys.
... and we're finally rid of that goddamn collar!
Gee! This is it? Not nearly as warm as I expected!
Where'd she go? Wait, here come some more people.
All right! It's about time!
You guys are weird, and I'm saying that as a guy in a jester's outfit. If I'm not mistaken, you're in your underpants. These two speak in an exaggerated Australian accent, by the way.
I'm Laurie. Glad to have you down here, Malcolm, we've all been waiting!
Oh, I see. That's reasonable.
Ha, ha, ha. Hoo-boy, it's great to have you here!
Are you going to play tennis?
Why don't you come with us?
Sure, we've got extra rackets, it'll be fun!
What heinous crime could you have committed?
Ha! What a joker!
Well, we'll just be moseyin' on.
Malcolm, I can't believe you're finally here. It's so wonderful! Ha, ha, ha!
I know they're setting this up to seem like a genuinely fantastic place, but I'm getting some Stepford vibes from those laughs. Just me, I guess.
I'm beginning to like this place! Aah, here comes someone else.
This guy, too, has an Australian accent. It is the Land Down Under, after all.
Why, Malcolm, it's you! You finally made it! Are you going down to the beach? I'll go with you!
Uh, I'm still waiting for my paperwork to clear.
The way it sticks out on the sides. It's beautiful!
Why is everyone down here so friendly towards me?
I guess it could also be like that episode of the Twilight Zone where the guy goes to an afterlife where he constantly wins at gambling and has everything he wants and thinks it's paradise until, well.
Prank? I thought this place was for murderers, and other evil people.
Oh, them? We turn THEM into bugs and send them back as soon as they get here.
Note to self: Don't trust bugs.
Well, gotta go, Mal! The waves will be perfect any minute now! It is really most excellent to have you here, sir!
Well, it's been a long and strange journey, but it looks like it's finally coming to an end. Malcolm has found a place where he's truly appreciated and can forget about Kyrandia and all that stupid stuff back there. To celebrate, the game gives us some Tremendous Happiness Points. Yep, it's smooth sailing from here on out.
There are no good sentences that begin with "Uh, oh, uh".
I'm sorry, but there has been a tremendous error with your paperwork. I'm afraid you'll have to return to the surface.
I know, and we want you here, too. But you know how these things go. Here, take the fish collar with you.
This stinks! Oh well, here I go.
It doesn't seem right! Why do we have to leave? They all actually LIKED you down there!
I can't believe this! And what is that thing?
And so, Malcolm's brief trip to hell is over before it could scarcely begin. Looks like we're being booted back up to the surface again. I guess we'll do that next time, and see where we end up.