The Let's Play Archive


by slowbeef

Part 7: Meet Gates Becker

06 - Meet Gates Becker

When we last saw Jonathan Ingram, he'd just met Dave Forrest and Meryl Silverbergh, two BCP Vice cops working under his old friend Ed Brown. We can talk to Dave and Meryl about all sorts of things.

In preparing this LP update (and all of them), I've been using the game script files (v1.0, 1.1 is forthcoming) Marc provided for me, that I used to generate the ISO and ROM patch. There's even stuff in there that I never noticed because the game's text corpus is just that big. In the previous update, I was going to mention that I'd requested a second Easter Egg, but there was nowhere in the script appropriate for Marc to include it. (I intended to include that tidbit for this update.)

Well, Marc never told me, but he actually did include it. And I never saw it until today, because it's sort of buried. It's dumb, but when you work on a project this long, I guess you get a little punchy, and it's really only number two of two Easter Eggs I requested.

Apparently, you can look at Dave's nose which is red because he's a hardcore drinker he rubs it all the time. And he's self-conscious about it.

Look; Dave's Nose

I know I haven't said anything about it before, but.... Your nose looks a little red.
Yeah, it's just the way it is. I guess I do rub it a lot.
You know, I think your nose looks better that way, Dave-o.

Sorry, as of writing this I'm still stunned Marc never mentioned it after two years. (Dave_O is an SA forums member I've done videos with in both LP and Retsupurae. If you know who I'm referring to, please do not imagine Dave Forrest with Dave_O's voice which I now have to do forever-more.)

Look; Dave

You look like a mellow guy. Total opposite of most cops I've known.
All my life, everyone's told me all I ever do is smile. It bugged my teachers.

We can also learn that Dave's goggles do nothing; he just wears them to look cool (which annoys Ed). He also loves hamburgers. If you look at his goggles enough:

One of my dreams is to fly a hang glider on Home. To have nothing between me and the wind.
Now that I think about it, there aren't any aircraft in here, are there?
Nope. No gliders, planes, choppers.... Nothing.

Look; Dave's Shirt

What's that shirt you're wearing?
It's from the repatriatist movement. I'm a repatriatist myself. Mankind should return Home. We don't belong out here.
Jesus, Dave! Not so loud. You could kiss your job goodbye if the brass found out you're a repatriatist.
A repatriatist?
A repatriatist?
Yeah, a repatriatist. Pollution in outer space is worsening every year. The movement says we should cease all space exploration and development and return Home.

Ask About; Vice

When I was a kid Beyond was a safe place. That's why I decided to become a cop. I figured it wouldn't be a dangerous job.
I'd no idea. Sorry to hear that.
Then all the dirtbags started showing up. Our job is to get rid of as many of those dirtbags as we can.

Alright, enough of you, Dave.

Look; Meryl

You're really tall. You must get a lot of looks.
Not really. I'm only 6 foot. I was one of the smaller ones in the military.

Ask About; Herself

Why don't you tell me about yourself.
That's a surprise. No one's ever said that to me before. Not in person, anyway. I'm mainly into bikes and combat. I like men, but... not in THAT way. Of course, ever since I came here half of me's disappeared. You can't ride bikes on the colony. Well, you can, but only electric ones. They don't let you import gas engine models. A bike's nothing without the speed.
You wouldn't be much without the combat either, huh?

So yeah. Different game, different Meryl.

Look; Meryl's Tattoo

Is that a real tattoo?
No, just a paint tattoo. It stays on for about half a year.

Well, maybe not that different. For the record, I really don't know if Policenauts Meryl is a lesbian or not - her sexuality is never really brought up. Regardless though, she's the only person Jonathan can grope without it being creepy- well, creepier. Basically, you can make a deal with her if you beat 500 points in the Level 2 Shooting Trainer that you get to "bounce" her. She's basically just like, "Yeah, knock yourself out, whatever."

That said, decency aside, we're not gonna do it because it locks us out of some hidden content later.

...This update is getting awkward, so...


Ready to take a walk?
Sure it's okay?
Why not? Better than you wandering around by yourself. You're in for a surprise. This place is a lot different from LAPD. So, where to?

Shooting Range

Hey, who likes reading! I hope to God you do.

This is the shooting range. We're all required to practice at least twice a week. There's a pair of ear protectors on the wall there. We use live rounds, so it gets pretty loud in here.
Can I use it too?
I don't see why not. I take it you registered your gun at customs?
Yeah, even the rifling.
That terminal on the table controls everything. It'll also display all your session data for you. However, the training programs are technically designed for use with lift guns.
Those things...
Yeah, guns that suppress recoil so they can be used in weightlessness. Nearly all guns on the colony are lift guns. There's a second explosion the moment a round exits the muzzle. Kinda like a rocket. That prevents most recoil from occurring.
Wouldn't another explosion right outside the barrel throw off your aim?
Not when you have a laser keeping you locked onto your target. Pretty handy, huh? They also have a few other features to absorb residual recoil. All you really need to do with a lift gun is get yourself locked onto the fucker. ... The trainer has a total of three modes - Target Mode, Training Mode and Combat Mode. Each incorporates situational analysis to serve a specific function. The system fuses good old-fashioned mechatronics with the latest in holographic imagery.
So is this VR?
No way. To simulate real combat as much as possible, the system doesn't use any VR. Like I said, we shoot live rounds. Playing it safe ain't real training. Same reason the military doesn't use VR for firearms training either. These are real bullets, so watch what you're doing. It may feel a little behind the times, but VR's for amateurs. Lemme fire her up for you.


Oh, shit guys, are we done?

First of all, MAKE SURE TO PUT ON YOUR EAR PROTECTORS! Otherwise... well, you get some text telling you that you should have, after the fact. Immersion!

Let's go to... Target Mode. What the hell. Oh, and welcome to SHOTPAC.

Part of the reason I really started to hate working on Policenauts so much is SHOTPAC. See, the Playstation version of Policenauts includes a lot of "improvements" on the original PC98 version, and most of it involves the action sequences - as such most every single thing involving shooting uses the file SHOTPAC.DPK.

"Slowbeef, why do you stil remember the name of a file you didn't open for two years?"

Oh hahaha, it was that bad. Every little thing in SHOTPAC was done by some fucking intern, or they gave it to the weirdo Konami programmer that no one wanted to work with; every scene was done completely differently, but packaged together in the same damn file. Almost nothing in SHOTPAC works like anything else in the game - and various things in SHOTPAC aren't even consistent with each other, even if they sorta work similarly. Case in point...

Okay, see that red X on the right? It was originally a red plus that said


Marc asked me to change it into the Red X and it took a long-ass time to find that graphic because unlike everything else in the whole damn game, it's just this uncompressed graphic. Paletted, too, which to be fair, of all the graphic types in the game, some of the others were. But it had its own palette indexes, as did a lot of these scenes, which means none of our previous graphic finding tricks worked. As such, it was one of the last things we changed.

The only way I found it in the first place was because Scarboy happend up on a spot in memory where the Policenauts original programmers were logging debug lines. That way, we could tell what files the game was reading at different points. Think that shit's bad? Well, we're gonna go over some worse stuff in this very update, and really horrible crap in Act 2.

Target mode means you wait for a target to zoom away from you, you get 10 shots, and you try to place them on the green spot. You get different points for different areas on the target.

Euch. 52 points. That's terrible for Target Mode; you need at least 70 points to get some of the bonus stuff. Well, we'll try again in a bit. For now, let's see Training Mode. In Training Mode, you get multiple Man-Shaped targets that scroll across 3 rails.

Kojima is friends with the guy who did "Lethal Enforcers," an old Konami rail-shooter. When you play Training Mode, the Lethal Enforcers announcer will say "RELOAD!" and the music is similar to the old game.

Pretty good, Jonathan. Mind if I show you something?
Dave? Not often you're here.
I thought I'd join the party. How about... Training Mode, Level 1. No sweat.

Click here for video!

If you didn't watch the video, Dave shoots for arms and legs, regardless of the score it earns him.

"Impressive!" Hey guess what. That was one of the last translations we made in the game. Why? Because even though this part of the game uses the regular font file, I guess the guy who programmed Dave's little movie here didn't know that, so he put it as a graphic baked in with the rest of it. We couldn't find it for the longest time, and it's a little weird how we did... you'll find out at the end of the update.

121 points. Not great, but Dave's trying to prove a point here.

One should always inflict the least damage needed to make an arrest. Catch you later, Jonathan.

Dave Forrest. What a dude. By the by, Ed will give you some composited statement after every training session like, "Let's see you played... Combat Mode! Level 1. No misses, that's a nice score." I'm not including that in every shooting sequence because we'll be doing quite a few. Let's go somewhere else right now.

Move; AP

But before we do, a very important conversation!!!!!

Be sure to pick up your shell casings. Lift guns don't expel shells. I'd never hear the end of it.
Hey, you're right. Gonna practice too?
Not today.
Come on. It's been years since I've seen you shoot.
I'm... not that good anymore. My eyes aren't what they used to be.

These guys are as state of the art as it gets. Seated over there is the commander of AP, and chief of BCP, Gates Becker.
Gates.... Pretty amazing, huh?
It's been 30 years. He's changed too. Let's go say hi.

(Note: That is Jonathan joking about Gates' British accent and mannerisms, which don't get a lot of mention in the original Japanese.)

How you doing, mate?
Jonathan... Ingram? Jonathan!

They tell me you're the big boss around here now. Well done. I'm really happy for you.
Oh, please. You're only as good as those around you. Jonathan.... I just want to say I'm sorry about what happened. Who knows. Might've been you sitting here otherwise, eh?
I'd rather not talk about it, Gates.
Well, I must say it's nice having more of the old crew around. On holiday, are you?
Actually, that's not why I'm here.
So... why are you here?
Here's the deal.
I'm looking for someone. His name is Kenzo Hojo. He works for Tokugawa Pharmaceuticals here.
He disappeared here 3 weeks ago. Then his wife was murdered on Home after coming to ask for my help.
Bloody hell.
Chief, I was thinking -
Jonathan, if Tokugawa's involved then I'm afraid that changes everything. I'm sorry, but we can't conduct an official inquiry. Though feel free to work with Ed on it. If you uncover something we'll step in and take over from there. Ed, I trust you'll give Jonathan your full cooperation. Just make it quiet.
Yes, chief.
I owe you one, Gates.
You're more than welcome here... provided you behave yourself. Alright?
Don't worry, you won't even know I'm here.
Really great seeing you again, Jonathan.

Well, this is all going quite smoothly! Provided no one antagonizes Jonathan in the whole game, I reckon we'll have this all wrapped up and solved by Act 2.

Ask About; The ex-Policenauts

What happened to the others?
Tokugawa resigned from BCP 20 years ago to head up the Tokugawa Group. Salvatore quit... I suppose 10 years or so ago and apparently went back Home. We've all gone our separate ways. The day you left us will probably be the last time we're ever together.

Ask About; BCP

The Policenauts eventually evolved into the proper police force we have today. AP do most of the work here now. They're our mobile police unit.

Ask About; AP

What does "AP" stand for?
"Advanced Police". AP were created to be a new breed of space police designed around the special set of conditions you have on a colony. BCP as it existed before was simply unequipped to deal with space's unique environment.That's why we started using EMPS as well. The biggest mistake the Policenauts made was carrying over a police system from Home to the colony. This isn't Home. It's a space colony in the middle of nowhere.AP have given us a start in transforming our entire force into one fully adapted to Beyond. In order to obtain financial support from Home and various business sectors we threw the word "Advanced" in there, but they already form the core of BCP.

Ask About; AP's members

We recruit AP members from government Frozeners. It's dangerous work. Having family or friends is only a burden. That was one of the lessons of your accident. On top of that, they only use sperm carrying genes well suited to space's environment when they fertilize Frozener eggs. In other words, they select the fathers from past astronauts.
Meaning we could be responsible for some of these guys?
The possibility is there. You could say Frozeners are literally the sons of us astronauts.
That seems... barbaric, in a way.
AP also carry out a number of missions in zero-gravity areas. In order to prevent calcium loss in weightlessness, they have hybrid artificial bones, joints and auditory ossicles. Therefore, they don't need to worry about the effects of extended work there. They're indispensable around here. They might be the ones with the real "right stuff".

This... has gotten depressing and weird. We can talk a bit more about how the new Frozeners and AP adapt better to cosmic ray exposure, etc. but let's just cut to the chase.

Ask About; Lorraine's murder

The police on Home have been in touch with us, as it involved the murder of a Beyond. What a senseless crime. Who would've thought something like that would happen to your ex-wife?
What's OLA saying?
They've concluded she was the victim of a bomb planted by repatriatists or possibly eco terrorists, but there's not much evidence to go on.
Yes, repatriatists. : It's been 30 years since we colonized space. The pollution of space's environment has become quite pronounced. That's where the movement was born. They say we should just stop all this and return Home. Naturally, we don't have jurisdiction over OLA here. There's nothing we can do. It's difficult for us to obtain any sort of detailed information. Our relationship with the police on Home isn't the best. That's why I want you to keep this under the radar, understood?
Yeah, of course. Thanks again, Gates.

Before we bid cheerio to Gates, there's one last joke... apparently, Gates is going bald and you'll see this acknowledged if you check the glass behind him.

(You can see the reflection of Gates' head in the glass. Is it just me or is he... going bald?)
Something the matter, Jonathan?
No, just... admiring your clean windows. Boy, these things are spick-and-span, huh, Ed?
As you'd imagine, being chief is no bed of roses. Your life revolves around protecting Beyond's citizens.

Alright, that's enough.


Hey, is that... another Frozener, or...?

Look; Frozener


So, you're AP.
This is Tony Redwood. He heads up bomb disposal. He's also the best EMPS pilot there is. They call him "Mr. Goddard".

In the PC98 version, Tony's telop doesn't show up on the plane - it appears here. I guess Konami wasn't sure about that until the zero hour or something, because his telop is here too... only the code for it is turned off.

How long do you expect to last here when you can barely handle a bit of SAS? Or is it time to pop another pill? This is Beyond. Totally different ball game from what you Terrestrials are used to.
Rather that than a reject from a bad zombie movie.
Jonathan! Just ignore him.
Say, Ed. Know how this timer works?
What, that?
I hear you were in the bomb squad on Home.
Before I joined narcotics, yeah.
Normally a bomb maker will incorporate several traps into a device to prevent it from being defused. See the red and blue cords? They're the final safety mechanism. Cut the right one and you're done. Which would you pick if I were to set it now? Red or blue?
Red... for Redwood.
Boom. Now we have a hole in the colony. A sociopath won't necessarily opt for red. The answer's blue. I always go for blue myself.
Thanks for the tip.

Well, Tony's a lot less civil than he was on the spaceplane.


What do you want?

Ask About; Him

My commanding officer is the chief. My compatriots are the guys you see around you. You're neither of those. I don't have to answer your questions.

You can see about where this is going. Let's get out of here.


I see you still have that cigarette in your mouth. You'll be arrested if you light it. Only saying.
Well, I don't see any ashtrays around here, do you?
Ashtrays? If you need an ashtray, there's always Vice.

Yikes. Zing.

That's normal for Frozeners. None of 'em ever blink.
Normal? The hell's normal about that?
Their eyes contain artificial lenses too. That makes their eyesight twice as powerful as yours or mine.
What about some of them being our kids, huh?
I'm not too worried. I mean, what are the chances of them choosing us?
You're telling me! God help them if you're the pick of the litter.
You're one to talk, Mr. Cosmophobia.
Was it just me or have you got beef with him?
Think so?
Something happen between you two?
I just don't get along with Frozeners.

Know what? Me neither. Let's blow off some steam.

Not a bad score if I do say so myself. You can get a high score in Training Mode by "double-tapping". You get 10 points for shooting the green center of each target, but if you're fast enough, you can get the trainer to register 2 shots per target by firing very fast when you're lined up.

592 is more than enough for Meryl's challenge, but we're not doing that in this playthrough (we'll see why in Act 2.)

Redwood shows us how it's done (click to watch)

Redwood scores, incredibly, in the 800 range and he does so by firing his weapon so fast, he gets 3-5 headshots per targets. Headshots are actually only worth 5 points apiece. He'd actually break 1000 easily if he went for the green targets.

Reflexes don't mean a thing anymore. Once a lift gun has you, it never lets go. Don't forget it.

Much of a dick as Redwood is, I have to thank him for something. Like I said before, the shooting training text was some of the last we managed to patch. Specifically, I mean Jonathan's "Impressive!" when Dave shoots and Ed's "Jesus Christ!" when Redwood shoots.

I couldn't find this text for the life of me - these two lines (and two others) were the most hidden... because they're actually fucking uncompressed graphics behind the scenes. The only way I found it was that Ed's line in the original Japanese is actually:


with a million dots for the ellipses because Japan freakin' loves those. So I used the debug log that Scarboy found to narrow down which file was being loaded and I looked for a pattern in the hex and just stumbled across this in my hex editor:

00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00
11 11 00 00 11 11 00 00
22 22 00 00 22 22 00 00
11 11 00 00 11 11 00 00
00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00

Wanna know what it is? It's part of an ellipse - two dots specifically. That's how I ended up finding the text.

Each half-byte (single digit) was an index in a paletted graphic. 0 was black, 1 was light gray, 2 was white. You can even squint and sorta see two dots there. Plus the other text in the other shooting scenes? They all use different indices. So in another, 0 was white, and 2 was black, etc. It was a major, major pain in the ass. I had to write a separate script to take in a string, reference the font file, compose the graphics in this format and re-insert them into SHOTPAC.DPK

The only consolation was this was so poorly coded to begin with, we had plenty of extra space. (note: Not that some of the stuff I did for the hack was a whole lot better.)

Okay, enough tech talk, I wanna do Target Mode instead.

Circle Target seems good.

Hooray! Scored over 70 points! Ed will give us some text, and maybe some advice too, depending on how we did. But you know, let's just go to Target Mode again.

Hey, a new target replaced the Red X!

It's a caricature of Ed. In case you weren't sure, the Japanese version has E.D. under it for some reason. What is this, a political cartoon?

Scored over 70. Not too shabby.


You drew this, didn't you?
Not bad, huh?
Just who's this supposed to be?
Calm down, Ed! It's a joke!
Don't tell me this is supposed to be me!
Well, your face always looks a little creepy.
What?! Whatever.

Whatever indeed. Let's try Man Target this time.

Just barely over 70 points this time.

Now we unlock a Redwood caricature.

Now if you score 70 on Ed and Redwood caricatures...

You get to shoot a Snatcher target to a remix of Pleasure of Tension.

Oh, come on! If you didn't draw it then who did?
I honestly didn't draw this.

Creepy. Score 70 on the Snatcher...

And you get this guy, who's a game critic friend of Kojima's! No idea why you'd want to put him in a damn shooting trainer, but hey!

What's this?
I'm not sure myself. It was on that wall there. I thought I'd mix things up a little.
You mean that wall?
Yeah, at the corner there.
That's where they put the wanted posters, Jonathan.
Oh. Really? So why's he smiling?
Yeah, I dunno either. I can see how you'd confuse it.

This is by no means a comprehensive show of the Shooting Trainer Easter Eggs (we'll be back, actually), but there's 3 more photorealistic targets besides them... that I do not think are unlockable. There's no text for them in the game script, and since they're paletted graphics, I couldn't really tell who they were looking in the VRAM.

By the by, there's something really freaky about trying to ROMhack this game, and looking in VRAM to see a Snatcher's head where you weren't expecting it.

Up next, let's go to Forensics and advance the case.