The Let's Play Archive


by cmndstab

Part 9: Ordinary Outpost

Half way through the game now, believe it or not.

Longer one today. At the end of the last update, Kent was dressed up in a Norm outfit and had entered their primary stronghold, the Ordinary Outpost. If you are thinking that this is an awful plan, then you are 100% correct.

Hahaha, check out those wanted posters. I'll bet Kent didn't even bother to take off his signature shades or disguise his hair or anything either.

Flight wins out over fight pretty damn quickly and Kent kicks up his heels, but the door has sealed in behind him.

They're very locked.

We are fucked.

Nosy Norms. Can't a guy get a little privacy around here, so he might... escape or something.

PA System: Norm 2782, you have been placed under House Arrest pending Paul's judgement. Make yourself useful and get away from the doors. You are making the place look a little untidy. If you haven't already done so, report to the main desk.

We are sooo fucked.

They got a pretty decent likeness, all told. Of course Kent doesn't own a mirror and has never realised what a disgusting freak of nature he actually is.

Sheesh! He's a really ugly looking son of a witch! I bet he's real dangerous - probably got no respect for himself or anyone else. I'll just press this red oblong right here...

PA System: Wanted: Kent Knutson. For crimes against all citizens of Neutropolis, including annoying singing in a public place. He is also suspected of harassing a Norm Trooper in the pursuit of his work, and the wanton use of colour paints and explosives. DO NOT approach this man. He is considered HIGHLY DIFFERENT!
Sheesh! It's me!

Now you know how horrible looking at you is for the rest of us, Kent.

Man, they made Brian look like way less of a dweeb than he actually is. I'm not sure what's going on with the top of his head there, though.

This looks like a caricature of Brian Deluge. His neck looks a little wrong though; his Adam's Apple doesn't look like a knee-cap! Strike the screen!

PA System: Known only as Brian Downpour, this man subverts the innocent children of our community with music composed by the devil. His band is known as CRACKERS AND ASTHMA, an anagram of "Kids, kick back and drink", probably. If seen, call 000. Do not approach this man, he is a dangerous lunatic and a drummer.

Hahaha, I love this. Brian Downpour, that's excellent

Paul Nystalux is coming to this facility. He is angry with one and all because of the recent incidents which have occurred in the city. Remain Normal.

Oh that's right, I'd forgotten that we were completely fucked. Now Paul is on his way, fantastic.

Kent makes his way over to the front desk, like he was instructed to do so. Yet another Norm is standing around here. Kent strikes up a conversation.

Excuse me, fellow Norm?
Go ahead, Norm 2782.
Hi there, Mr. 0793. How's it going? When does our glorious Leader grace us with his presence?
You seem unaccountably happy, Norm 2782. Leader Paul is due here at any minute.

"Also, you're not rasping your words out like a chain smoker anymore!"

I'd gathered. And I am looking forward to grasping him warmly by the thro... hand, if you must know.
I think perhaps you should make yourself scarce. He is looking to pin the blame on someone for the M.I.N.T. Mall incident. I have you down as being on duty there at the time that the 34/DD-1 was committed.
So... whoever is responsible for the boo boos will be...?
Punished, 2782! As an example to the rest of his loyal Norm Trooper Army. There is NO room for error, or boo boos, as you so eloquently put it.

Really, Kent? "Boo boos"? At least try to fit in.

Elephantly? I couldn't sort of apologise, could I? Or hide perhaps?
I don't think so. I'm afraid I can't let you leave this Ordinary Output until he has dealt with you. If you are lucky they will prove that red-haired guy did it, taking some of the heat off ya!
Prove that the red-haired guy did it? Which one?
The one in the picture, right over there on the wall. I wouldn't like to be in his shoes if THEY nail him, eh?
Hmmmm, no. No, I wouldn't.

I wouldn't like to be in Kent's shoes period. This is looking worse by the minute.

Who are THEY? Who is going to nail that ugly subversive skinroll?
The guys in Forensics.
Where is Forensics?
Forensics is on the same corridor as Research.

Of course, we don't know where that is either. Kent decides to go back to his usual question and ask about the whirring gizmos. Perhaps that will give him a lead to the research area.

Do you know what these things are for?
I've got no idea, Norm. Why don't you take it up to Research. I'm just a desk-bound resource. I'm not even allowed to go to the mens room.
Is that why you turned off the fountain?
Well, no. It's out of order, but that's fine. The sound of those tinkling droplets might cause a little, er... you know, one of, er... a kind of spillage!

Yes, we get it. Remember this conversation, since you can't repeat it later when it's actually relevant. Kent decides to just cut to the chase.

Where is Research?
I'll give you the code, Norm. 1-5-7-2. Tap that into the keypad right over there and the elevator will take you directly to the labs. 1-5-7-2. You got that?
1-5-7-2. Thanks, Bud. Stay Normal. I'll be off to do some work then.
Yeah, you do that.

Sure enough, the fountain is broken. This will form the basis of yet another retarded puzzle soon, though at least it's one that can be solved quickly when you know how.

Kent heads over to the keypad...

...and enters the number...

...only to have it rejected. What gives?

Oh, you've got to use the left elevator. Thanks for mentioning that, asshole.

Apparently Norm elevators are the shape of Octagons split in half. Presumably designed for maximum levels of inefficiency.

Kent emerges upstairs in the pristine, white research area.

Most rooms are locked, but Kent can see through the window to Forensics. I spot that fire extinguisher, some paint in a bag, a yappy puppy, a glider off to the right there. Looks like these guys have got the dirt on Kent.

This complete freak is the only actual researcher here.

One of Paul's army of sados. His name badge says CONRAD SMULCH.

Let's get to chatting!

Greetings, fellow Friend of Paul.
Hello, Norm. Could you enlighten me as to what this gizmo is?
Where did you get this, Norm? These are controlled items.

No, Kent, you were only using the gizmos as an excuse to ask for the elevator code. You're not meant to actually hand it over to the researchers

I just kinda found it.
And you are not aware of its purpose?
Then I suggest you stay that way. You have performed correctly and quickly in bringing this to me, Norm 2782. I will inform our unparalleled leader of your initiative upon his arrival. This deed might help in his choice of punishment. You have safeguarded a sensitive secret, one that could ruin Paul's, er.... evening.

I wonder how many more brownie points we could earn by reporting the unlocked door at Plush-Rest with the complete design specifications just lying out in the open?

Conrad is studying Brian Deluge's music. Kent decides to swipe a bunch of Deluge's "Zen Throbb" CDs. Conrad is facing straight towards Kent but doesn't even notice. I assume he's just unable to focus on anything with those two lazy eyes of his.

OK, I'll take a couple. No one will miss them. Brian might even sign them if he's ever in a good frame of mind.

Oh, and since I'm sure you were wondering, no, the CDs have no purpose whatsoever. Unless you can use them to smash the washing machine open or something. You certainly can't get them signed.

What the hell is going on in there?

They're pumping Deluge's music into this dude's ears at a huge volume, apparently.

Kinda looks like he's enjoying it. You're soooo lucky, pal. I expect that makes you forget about your terrible cold.

This monitor shows this guy's brain throbbing back and forth.

This represents the victim's mind, or something. It looks painful!

To be honest his brain is probably just trying to make sense of the fucking lyrics. LIGHTNING ROD!!!

Kent decides to set the poor guy free.

Prisoner (0:24) - Kent lets the poor slavering dude go free, and he runs off in a blind gallop, smashing a couple of windows before knocking himself out cold.

Kent decides to go ask what the fuck.

Can you tell me what you are doing to that guy in there?
I am testing the Human mind's tolerance to Rock and... er, Roll. I am expecting the man to expire quite soon.
EXPIRE?! You mean, like DIE?! What happens then? What will that prove?

I give up. Go and blow your cover for all I fucking care Kent. You're screwed either way.

I will then need another subject, and it will prove that this type of "music" is extremely dangerous indeed.
Particularly when played at insufferable volcanic volumes.
Er... stay Normal.

Conrad doesn't even seem to be aware that the prisoner just smashed shit up all around him. Kent decides to fill him in.

Hey! The prisoner has chewed through his bonds and made a run for it.
Where in the world is he? Is he dangerous?
He's in the corridor. He's knocked himself out!
Interesting. This Rock and Roll music evidently turns people into savages. Send him back to the Processing Floor in the tube and I will send for a fresh subject.

Of course, by this point Kent has forgotten that he's supposed to be liberating Saul rather than playing errand-boy to creepy Norm researchers, and he actually waddles over to do Conrad's bidding.

Some of these shards are covered in sticky green stuff. Dis-gross-thing!! My assistant must have hit the window squarely with his face.

Jagged pieces of glass covered in snot? That has Kent's inventory written all over it! Kent pockets a piece.

Carefully does it. I don't want to smother myself in nasal fluid!

Oh, God forbid, Kent.

He's knocked himself senseless smashing into that window. Ugh! There's nasal debris everywhere!

"Nasal debris". Kent picks the guy up, but not without his requisite whinge.

OK, but I don't want to carry him far! He's soooo heavy!

This little scene is a bit annoying. You have to first call the lift down, then push the button to open the door.

Then you stick the guy in the capsule, close the door again, and push the button to send it back up. Problem is each time you access the panel the screen changes resolutions and takes a couple of seconds to load. It also completely fucks over DOSBox's video capture facility.

Also, just to make things more frustrating, the hotspot for the capsule is only a few pixels wide, otherwise Kent thinks you're clicking on the outer tube. So if you try to put the dude in the capsule but miss and click on the tube, Kent tells you that you need to use the buttons to call a capsule down, even though you already have. It's just poorly designed all round.

After sending the guy up, no new subject comes down. Instead of continuing his actual mission, Kent instead checks in with Conrad to ensure his hideous research can proceed as swiftly as possible.

What seems to be the problem, esteemed colleague?
Our normally faithful slave, technology, appears to be having a tantrum again. In short, I cannot contact the Processing Floor using E-mail.
Never mind, maybe you can find something else to do.

Hahaha, nice try Kent.

This research is critical! Go up there and tell them I need a fresh volunteer sending down the tube.
From the Processing Floor?
Indeed, Norm, from the Processing Floor!
I'll be off then.

Yeah, we'll get right on that.

When we attempt to ride the tube up to the Processing Floor ourselves, however, we find it isn't working either.

Nothing's happening. Where's the capsule?

This place is run even worse than the TV Station was. At least they had technicians who knew how to fix things.

Kent decides to head through the broken window into Forensics. Of course, when Kent sees pointy broken glass everywhere, the first idea that comes to his mind is to make a retarded leap through the window, instead of stepping through carefully like a normal person.

Apparently they've had some kind of PI go and take photos of Kent's various exploits.

Ah, the fireworks display at the Mall! That sure brightened up the city. We must do that every year.
He, he, I did a really great job repainting the Mall. Well, it was boring without that special touch of colour.
Hey, that's Brian from his video at the TV Station!

Kent is pretty damn pleased with himself.

I used this in the factory and mall. I think those are my fingerprints! Oops!

Oops! Now there is a dish cloth right there on the ground that Kent can use to wipe off the fingerprints, or... can take the disgusting route by wiping the snotty glass shard from outside all over the extinguisher. Apparently one shard of glass had enough on it to cover half an extinguisher.

I think I'm going to be sick.

It's a waste grinder. Could be useful. Looks like someone was repairing it.

Kent finally finds a use for the rusty old cog he found at the Plush-Rest factory, all the way back in Update 2.

Hey, it looks like it was made to fit! Lucky, huh?!

Luck is the sole reason you've made it this far, Kent. The waste grinder is still missing another part, however.

Kent also take the spanner lying around, just for kicks.

It's a little plastic bag containing yellow flakes. The tag says: Paint with damping properties, developed by underground movement. Collected at crime scene MINT Mall."

"Damping properties"? I'm not even sure what that's supposed to mean.

This is one of the dogs I used at the Mall. Someone is really on my trail!

If only you'd left them in the store, where they would have performed an equally good job, perhaps they wouldn't have had such an easy trail to follow, Kent.

That's the glider I used to liberate the dogs in the Mall.

All of this is pretty incriminating stuff. It would probably be a good idea to take it all and get out of here, but of course Kent refuses to actually pick any of it up, asking what he would want with them. You fucking deserve to go back to the Blue Pens you idiot, Kent.

There's a couple of keys here. Surely these will be of vital importance!

On the way back out of the room, Kent steps carefully through the window, just to prove he could have done it all along and that his moronic, dangerous leap before was entirely pointless.

Sure enough, one of those two keys unlocks the door on the other side of the corridor.

It seems to be analysing a fire extinguisher. What is this fascination with fire extinguishers?

Considering one was just used to carry out a crime, it's really not surprising, Kent.

Who'd want such a spooky picture on their wall?

Like your Deluge poster is any better.

All sorts of files and paperwork strewn around here. I bet it's all boring.

I BET IT'S A WHOLE BUNCH OF INCRIMINATING EVIDENCE ON YOU, YOU LAZY FUCK. At this point I'm convinced Kent can't actually read, and so he just keeps making up excuses as to why he doesn't want to look at vitally important documents, or even take them for later viewing.

So yeah, there's nothing to do in this room. But the second key will open this locker. What will we find in there?

Literally nothing. You can't even select this poster. Those two keys, hidden away, allowed us to access an entirely useless room. Oh Normality, you got me again!

Wait a second, there was medical cabinet out there. Maybe that has something worthwhile? Perhaps this won't be a total waste of time after all?

Of course it will be. Say NO to drugs? What kind of hippie anarchist are you, Kent?

Back out here in the main research area, Kent remembers that the window was smashed when he released that research subject. Conrad is too focused on rolling his eyes around like fucking marbles to notice Kent slipping outside.

This rope goes right down to ground level, and the pulley looks sturdy enough.

So we can escape, thank Christ for that. Not that we really have anywhere to go.

Kent pauses to take in the scenic view of Neutropolis.

The city. The little people going about their business, oblivious to the sinister secrets of their Police force! It makes me proud to be doing all this for them.

Doing all what? Wiping snot on fire extinguishers? Throwing dogshit at technicians? You haven't done crap, Kent.

There's a ladder sitting here. You can't climb down it, but Kent is happy to pocket it.

Down we go. Kent decides to head back to The Den to report on his progress.

Oh God, is that Norm 2782 sitting there in his underwear? He'll play Dai's role of having absolutely no lines in this scene. Dai must be out getting the cradle set up, I guess.

But you have made progress?
They're using Brian's music to torture people up there!

Hahahaha, I love that.

They have some evidence up there. Stuff that sews my case tighter than a duck's butt.
Maybe you should try to get rid of it? Don't worry, if you manage to free Saul then it might not make much difference. He will tip the scales of freedom, once freed.

Wait, wait, go back a minute. "Tighter than a duck's butt"? Kent???

Paul's making a visit to the Outpost, trying to boost morale after my crushing acts of rebellion.
Great! I knew we could do it. That guy probably sleeps very poorly these days. We're quite a team, huh?
You keep saying 'WE'. The only one of you who helps in any way is old, mad and incontinent. I don't know why I'm risking my skin to satisfy your crazy plans!
Kent. KENT! Calm down. It's an emotional time for us all. We're all under great pressure. Even Brian is having trouble writing. Go out there and challenge the system.

Hahaha, Kent finally fires off at Brian. He's right though, other than Dai's occasional ride on a cradle, nobody else in this group actually does anything. When Kent is your most active member, you really should consider just shutting your rebellion down altogether.

A scientist up there was real surprised when I asked him about those gizmos. Something real fishy is happening with those.
Yes. I've made a little headway there myself. They are definitely harmful if swallowed!

Ah, that's probably what happened to Dai.

Sheesh! World-sized brain! What the hell have I got myself into here?! OK, I'm going back out there. I just had a terrible feeling of deja vu.
It happens to all DIFFERENT people, Kent. Good luck. See ya later.

Somehow I now feel even less motivated to complete this mission.

Back in the Ordinary Outpost, we come across another of Normality's frustrating puzzles. We need to head to the Processing Floor, but when we ask about it...

Hi, you couldn't tell me the code for the Processing Floor, could you?
Why do you need that, Norm? Forgotten it have you?
No. Stay Normal.

...Kent just chickens out and doesn't allow the Norm to tell him the code! I don't get why not. If he was happy to give us the Research Floor code, then surely he'd be happy to give us the Processing Floor code, which presumably is less commonly accessed. Kent just refuses to ask for no good reason.

Oh, in case you're wondering why I'm not going and eliminating the rest of that evidence, frankly, if Kent doesn't want to just pick it up then fuck him. He can get fingered by the Forensics guys and I won't give a shit.

Ironically, that choice will actually help Kent rather than hinder him, as I'll cover in the next couple of updates.

So what's the solution to the Processing Floor puzzle? Remember earlier when the Norm said he couldn't use the men's room and the fountain made him feel likely to have an accident? You can repair the fountain by stepping on this random loose tile in the middle of fucking nowhere that looks almost identical to any other tile. No, there are no hints that the fountain will work when you do this. Don't forget that you have access to every location so far in the game at this point. You could be wandering all over the fucking gameworld trying to solve an actual puzzle, and then the solution is to step on a fucking loose tile. Oh, this helps you because the Norm has the elevator password stuck up on a piece of paper behind him that you can't see until he leaves. Yep.

This was the only puzzle that actually kept me stuck for long enough to have to check a guide so far. Fuck this puzzle.

Shut the fuck up, Kent. I'm sick of these retarded puzzles and I'm sick of you. Can't you just get fucking arrested and lobotomised already?

Fountain (0:32) - Kent tells the front desk Norm that the fountain is working, and the Norm leaves to take a piss, while Kent bounces around like a fucking rabbit for no Goddamn reason. Kent sees the password, 1-3-1-2, and heads upstairs to the Processing Floor.

This place looks weird as hell. Why would it look like this? What's up with the wallpaper? At least, I hope that's paper.

What were we even doing here again? Oh, that's right. The email server is down.

I would like a prisoner sent down to the Research Labs.
OK, I'll send an E-MAIL directly. Don't move, 2782, or you'll get us all into trouble.

Of course, the email won't go through.

Looks like I'll have to take a trip there myself! The E-MAIL network isn't working. Stay here!

Hit him, Norm. HIT HIM!!

I can't wait for Kent to get arrested again.

There's a couple of side rooms with tubes in them, but they don't work at the moment. No idea how that Norm just then got down one, but it's not important.

The only real thing to do here is to push this gigantic red button.

What the...!

The door behind the desk opens up, to reveal...

...some kind of insidious prison cells?

Will Kent discover Saul's location? Can he get out of here before Paul arrives? Is he completely fucked?  Yes.  Tune in tomorrow to find out!