The Let's Play Archive


by slowbeef

Part 4: In Which We Opt Not To Inappropriately Touch A Stewardess

Pretentious Turtle posted:

Does the story end with you as a redeemed, better man, or a broken, hollow husk of what was once a proud human being?

I sadly learned these things are not mutually exclusive.

Whoosh, misdirection!

Update 4 - In Which We Opt Not To Inappropriately Touch A Stewardess

Imagine the worst flight you've ever been on. Maybe there's no meal included. Maybe you're seated near someone who smells like sour milk poured over feet. Maybe the in-flight movie is Black Knight, starring Martin Lawrence.

Since you know about where this metaphor is going, imagine it's a zero-gravity flight, where you are strapped into your seat so forget about a lot of in-cabin movement. Also, it's two days to your destination, the space colony, Beyond Coast.

Well, forget all that because you're also seated next to this undead-looking guy.

You okay? You don't look too good.
I'm... not a big fan of space.
You have SAS? Interesting. This your first time?

(Note: SAS is Space Adaptation Syndrome - it's something like motion sickness when you're in low-gravity situations. We'll be talking about it later in this update.)

No, I had an accident out here a long time ago. I've had cosmophobia ever since.
Sorry to hear that. You should ask one of the stewardesses for some medicine. The call button is the red switch on the wall.
I'm good for now, thanks.

Conversation is the best way to take your mind off something. We should take advantage of the opportunity.

Jonathan Ingram. Same here.

I can "speedrun" the Prologue of Policenauts up to here. To this day, I am not sure exactly what you have to do to trigger the next scene. You can however, monitor your progress by talking to Tony. Specifically:

Ask About; Arrival Time

The flight's only just begun!

Tony will let you know about how far you are from Beyond Coast. You can "pass the time" by talking to him directly, examining your surroundings, watching the TV, or talking to a flight attendant. Note that the latter two are optional.

Tony is a font of information, so let's start by rudely looking at the writing on his head. What's with that, anyway?

Sorry if I'm being rude, but... what's that writing on your forehead?
This is my tag. All Frozeners have one.

Frozeners, huh. Let's get more intrusive.

Ask About; His Background

Your skin... looks a little....
It's always like this, yes.
Why... is your skin that color?
Because of my artificial blood. My red blood cells are actually white.
(White blood....)
I use first-generation artificial blood, which is less complex than the third-generation kind you see on Home.

Tony's a Frozener, he has an identification tag printed on him, and he has white blood. I feel like this is all relevant somehow...

Are you from Beyond?
Yes, I was born and raised there. I had a family matter to attend to on Home. And yourself? Are you a Terrestrial?
Not exactly. I used to be an Amphibian. You know, going back and forth between Home and Beyond.
An Amphibian? You were one of the Amphibians?
It was a long time ago. Back when we were called "astronauts".

Ask About; "Frozeners"

What do you mean by "Frozener"?
A Frozener is someone created from an artificially fertilized egg held in cryogenic storage by the government, or the "Breeders", as some people call them. The egg is later transferred to a surrogate mother for gestation and delivery.
Oh yeah, I've heard a little about them.
There's still a severe shortage of manpower in space development.
You... you sound like I'm boring you.

This line kinda confused me, honestly. I spoke to Marc and he told me that Jonathan is referring to the fact that Redwood speaks with somewhat of a monotone.

Note that there's another level of "translation" going on here - Beyonders actually speak differently than the people on Home. They communicate tersely, have a "Beyond accent", and apparently, it can even be a little difficult to understand them.

This is not reflected in the original Japanese; it's a qualitative fact stated in the game, but Beyonder dialogue sounds the same when you're playing and conversing with people born on and off the colony. Marc did consider making Beyonders talk a little differently, but decided that since it wasn't in the original game, he wouldn't introduce it in the ROMhack.

I won't go through ALL of what Tony has to say (it's a lot!) but we can learn that his tag is identifying - meaning unique to him. And we can also show him our inventory, which doesn't actually exist.

For example, Jonathan now has a photo of Kenzo and Lorraine, the capsules, and the leaf, as well as a photo of the Policenauts from his office. If you look at them, Jonathan will explain that he took them with him.

But it doesn't really work like an adventure game - behind the scenes, there's actually no inventory. Policenauts is very, very linear. It does a good job of disguising exactly how linear it is, but basically the game knows with absolute certainty what items you're going to have at a given scene.

So when Jonathan "picks up an item", the game just sets a flag in the script that says he has it. In other words, there's nothing that actually stores what items Jonathan has.

If you were to try and hack the game to bring an item from later, like... Hojo's ID card onto the spaceplane, it wouldn't work. There's no text for it in the spaceplane script. When you bring up the inventory menu, it wouldn't show up because it's not checking an inventory - it has a pre-populated list of the items Jonathan is supposed to have.

It saves space because different parts of the game script can be dynamically loaded
into memory (we can remove the parts of the game on Earth and load in the spaceplane stuff), but nothing really persists between the scenes, outside of some simplistic flags.

Well, I know everyone's suspicious, so let's just ask him.

Look; Tony's Right Hand

I see you injured your arm.
I just burned it a little.
Must be painful.
The best environment for treating a burn is zero gravity.

Welp, now that everything's good and awkward, let's watch TV!

Here's our second graphical hack of the game - though it prints her name in English, Policenauts originally romanizes it as Karen Hojyo - with a Y. That was a pretty easy Photoshop job for me. (Actually GIMP. Shut up, I know it's not as good.)

If someone asks you how you spell something in Japanese and you feel like beng a jerk tell them that, technically, you don't. I mean, they don't use the English alphabet, so you couldn't really spell it.

That said, writing foreign alphabets into English is something people do need to do, and for Japanese, the commonly accepted method is "Modified Hepburn." It would translate "Hojo" as, well, "Hojo" instead of "Hojyo", the latter having a longer intonation from the j into the y.

So Konami got it a little wrong, and we fixed it. They also incorrectly romanized "Gates" (as in Gates Becker, the Policenaut from Scotland Yard) as "Gatse" which is unfortunate considering a certain picture on the Internet.

Yeah, this one

Anyway, yes, this is Lorraine's daughter and she is delivering the news.

The number of Narc users on Beyond has reached an all-time high. In response, Beyond Coast Police has formed a special task force to investigate possible trafficking routes from Earth.

Narc is a semi-synthetic narcotic made from black poppy opium, combining the addictiveness of morphine with the hallucinogenic properties of LSD, and is space's most common illegal drug. The International Space Promotion Agency estimates that Narc is used by nearly a third of all individuals involved with space development, and it expects that number to continue to rise.

No, that's a program from Beyond. The "BBC" stands for "Beyond Coast Broadcasting". Another BBC.

Thanks for making us feel stupid, Tony. Let's watch some more.

The worldwide organ shortage continues to worsen. The numerous hazards of outer space, such as weightlessness and cosmic rays, have fueled the rise in rates of organ abnormalities. This, of course, in turn reduces the number of individuals eligible for donation. The International Space Promotion Agency is calling for transplant-developing nations on Earth to join the donor network.

There's 8-9 news stories in the game, so whenever you see a TV, watch it and you might get a new story. However, here on the plane, there's only these two. Let's do something I've been dreading and call the stewardess over.

Ooh, not feeling too well, are we? Might it be SAS?
I'm sure it is.
The best thing you can do is try to relax.
Is there anything I can do for you?

"Hey slowbeef, are you going to-"


We're going to TALK to the flight attendant about space flights. She is very intelligent and helpful.

Ask About; Beyond

Beyond Coast, mankind's first space colony, was completed in 2010.{break}Since immigration was opened to the general public in 2013, the colony's population has grown to approximately 1 million people. Nearly one-third of the current population is comprised of second-generation inhabitants.

Ask About; SAS

The medical definition of Space Adaptation Syndrome, or SAS, is the symptoms one experiences during adaptation to zero gravity. It varies from person to person, but over 50% of people develop symptoms within 1 to 2 hours of entering weightlessness.

Now, because Hideo Kojima is out of his goddamned mind, you can ask again about SAS and get options to learn about the cause, zero gravity's effects, etc. It's fucking long, and it's just one of a million things you can ask the damn stewardess about. You think I'm kidding?

I will not blame you for skipping ahead.

Ask About; SAS; Cause

Much was revealed about the nature of SAS after the turn of the century. The previously held Barany theory was rejected, with the cause of SAS now said to be a vestibular disorder. The vestibular system undergoes a paralysis, throwing off one's center of balance. It's called the vestibular disorder theory. It states that several organs that perceive gravity are involved in this disruption, not just the otoliths of the inner ear.

Ask About; SAS; Treatment

Generally speaking, the most effective form of treatment available would be to give an intramuscular injection of promethazine, but because SAS varies from person to person, there are currently no medications capable of alleviating all its symptoms. While it's somewhat rudimentary, keeping your head as still as possible will reduce a lot of the discomfort. For Terrestrials, it might be helpful to do some zero gravity sensory training on an adaptation training unit before you fly.

Ask About; SAS; Symptoms

Symptoms include dizziness, cold sweats, vomiting, headache and fatigue, and are often accompanied by a false feeling of falling over that doesn't occur in normal motion sickness. The longest they last is about 2 days, however, so you should be fine by the time we arrive.

Ask About; SAS; Zero gravity's effects

There is no hydrostatic pressure in zero gravity, so much of your bodily fluids collect in the upper half of your body in an attempt to evenly distribute them. When this happens, your body thinks the amount of blood in the bloodstream has increased, causing the brain to send a message to the kidneys. Basically, you end up having to urinate more often. There are efforts underway to try and control this misperception in the brain through methods like biofeedback and yoga. Also, because your bones, joints and muscles don't undergo any stress in zero gravity, your bone cells lose their calcium. Long-distance spaceships create artificial gravity through centrifugal force, but the only thing you can do to prevent calcium loss on this type of plane is exercise. We have equipment such as ergometers, treadmills and resistance bands onboard. You could also try chewing some gum made from the leaf of the hardy rubber tree.


Oh, and yeah! That's just one of the things you can ask about!

Ask About; The plane; Course

Normally we would spend the night in an Earth-orbiting space station and then travel the rest of the way in an orbital transfer vehicle, but this is a direct flight to Beyond, which takes about 2 days.

Ask About; The plane; Toilets

In accordance with stricter space debris regulations, the plane doesn't eject waste out into space like before. So you won't get the chance to see any "space fireflies" like Project Mercury's Astronaut Glenn, or "milky ways" like Aurora 7's Astronaut Carpenter. The toilet uses a vacuum waste collection system, so it might feel a little ticklish.
Ticklish? I see that part hasn't changed.

Yes, thank you for the input, Jonathan.

Ask About; Meals

You'll remember I was talking about the effects of zero gravity a moment ago? Space travel also causes changes in your body's internal secretions and metabolism, which can affect your sense of taste. You may not be completely satisfied with certain aspects of the food, but we ask for your understanding.

Ask About; Passengers

The fuel tank, which contains liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen, is considerably big, so there's only enough seating space for thirty people, including crew. Since there are less than thirty passengers, there are no separate classes onboard. That's why the lifepod holds exactly thirty, huh?

We can go on and on about why the meals don't taste great, why the plane didn't make a lot of noise on launch (piezoelectric elements that bend the body in response to the vibrations outside), how the plane differs from conventional ones (it's a flat-lifting body), and on and on and on.

This is why, if you're a fan of Policenauts or Hideo Kojima, you raise a glass to Marc-fucking-Laidlaw. Because all of that was in Japanese, once.

"Also you can make her tits-"

I know, shut up.

I don't want to keep us here all day, so let's get some medicine for SAS.

The medicine really does nothing outside of making the sweat disappear from Jonathan.

When you've done "enough" and again, I never figured out exactly what those parameters are, you can right-click and try "Go to sleep". If it's too early in the flight, Redwood suggests talking more, which is annoying. But succeed and...

Maybe some sleep is what you need.
Yeah, I think I've finally settled down.
I'll wake you if anything happens.

Again, if you like, you can suffix the update's ending with a video, or read the screens below.

Ladies and gentlemen, we will be shortly arriving at Beyond Coast Spaceport. In the arrival area

before going through immigration and customs.

We will now be distributing beverages and salt tablets to help replenish bodily fluids lost during the flight. Thank you once again from all of us here for choosing American Space Lines. We look forward to serving you again on a future flight. Cabin crew, prepare for docking.

And so ends the prologue.


"Hey slowbeef, why aren't you showing off groping the stewardess?"

Okay, okay. Look.

Policenauts has a "feature" where if you click on a women's chest, Jonathan will make a remark about her boobs. This unlocks a "Touch" option, where the woman usually exclaims something like "What the hell are you doing!" and the boobs animate bouncing once.

People apparently liked this enough that Konami went nuts and in the succeeding Saturn version, and they added it to almost all women in the game (except Lorraine, for some reason.) I don't love that it's in the game, and there's one part of it you cannot skip. But it is what it is, and I guess it's no worse than rotating Eva in the Survival Viewer in MGS3, following Meryl's ass in MGS1, or playing as a totally naked Raiden in MGS2. Or bursting in on Katrina Gibson in the shower in Snatcher.

If you wanna see this, play the game yourself because I'm not including it in the LP. This is a classy thread, as evinced by my goatse joke earlier. More seriously, it's just a weird thing Kojima included.