The Let's Play Archive


by berryjon

Part 9: Short Essay for Level 9

Welcome back! We have ourselves pretty much the last breather level in the game, though it's not without its own pitfalls and stresses. It's the first level where Konoko is explicitly against the TCTF, an that means that while you may not find mixed encounters, how you approach a level can change just a tad.

Speaking of being against the TCTF, notice something off about the opening cutscene? Yes? No? Well, you see, all cutscenes in the game, aside from the opening and closing animations, are done in-engine, in-level. So when you saw Kerr and Griffin talking to each other in an office? That was a physical location in the level that the camera was pointed at with the character models loaded in.

Here though, all we have is a black screen and some talking heads. The office and the models aren't in the level. What is, is when we see Konoko walk up to the building, and the small confines of the rest of the location.

On that vein, I'm pretty sure that this is the smallest map in the game, and as I pointed out in the level, this smallness made it easy to design, script and complete. And once it was complete, further tests on the engine could be used by loading this level with the changes and seeing how it worked out. Including breakable and non-breakable glass, lighting and texture work, things like that.

And here is where the real-life designs actually do shine. The opening foyer has a justifiable and workable layout for both combat (not that much happens here), and for movement. It looks and feels like an actual work environment.

You know, I really think that Konoko was just hoping to sneak in a little before closing time, get the info and get out. But then some damned ninja had to ruin things for her.

Damned Ninjas.

Anyway, I have to wonder about the TCTF's response to all this. They know Konoko is going to come here as it's where the information is stored, so I can understand being on call to cordon off the building. But they never attempt to storm the place, evacuate the civilians, or even cut off the power to trap her and prevent her from getting what she wants. Instead it's like ... they're waiting for something.

Probably confused if she's now working with the Syndicate or not, given the presence of the Ninjas.

Man, that thought would have driven Griffin up the walls.

So... Commander Terrance Griffin. His life before the TCTF was never revealed, but we do know that he joined as a field trooper - one of the guys we saw in the first couple levels helping Konoko. He rose through the ranks as a distinguished officer, being promoted to TCTF SWAT, and later to Black Ops. He gained a reputation for being ruthless without being violent. Yes, violence was part and parcel of the job, but Terrance Griffin knew how to apply that violence, rather than through the use of indiscriminate force.

Because of this, and his successes against the Syndicate, he was slowly being groomed by the Directorate, the World Government and their security apparatus, for a larger leadership position. His... SPOILERS! After Griffin apprehended Doctor Kerr and Mai Hasegawsa, taking the latter as a ward of the state, and the former for his vital knowledge of the Daoden Symbiote to counter the Syndicate and their taking of Doctor Hasegawa and his son, Muro Hasegawa, it was seen by the higher ups as just the effort they wanted to see. That Griffin could think past the immediate and tactical, and was ready for promotion.

So he was promoted from field work, and his first assignment was the long-term fallout from the action that got him promoted in the first place. He was good enough with that, that he was promoted again and again until he plateaued with being in charge of the local TCTF regional branch of.... Actually, we're never told where. I just checked the manual, and I think I'm going to transcribe the opening blurb at some point.

Anyway, his superiors have seen that his aggressive and goal-oriented mentality is not something they want at his level, or any higher. He's been Peter Principled above the level of his competence, and it's showing. Sure, he's good at maintaining civil order, and putting down the Syndicate, but he never developed the political or soft-power acumen that he was being groomed for. He was raised to fight hard, and he never stopped, including maintaining the physical requirements to be on the Black Ops reserve roster, just in case.

His handling of the Kerr case has been mixed in the views of his superiors, as while he has done an excellent job at managing the current state of affairs, his lack of an end goal, or a long-term plan has been setting him back. However, his actions after the stealing of the Shinatama SLD, and declaring Agent Konoko rogue for her part in the failed retrieval attempt are the last straw. His superiors are seriously considering promoting him to a position where he can do no further harm, or get him out of the TCTF to a retirement that has been earned by his years of good service, marred by one last bad decision.

And he knows this. He doesn't have much of a life outside of the TCTF, and leaving would be as good as dying in his eyes. So he's going to stay and ride this to its bitter end, one way or another.