The Let's Play Archive


by M.c.P

Part 9: Entry 9 - The Viewing Room

There’s something exciting about taking a tram in Riven.

Besides the high speed and g-forces, I mean.

Sitting in the chair, turning the car around, it’s truly the first step into new territory. A concrete jump from one place to another. Even the linking books give you an image of where you’re going.

I headed to the new island filled with determination, and a bit of a clenched gut at another of these roller coasters.

Which made this ride, a relatively straight shot, a bit of a disappointment. It was over a lot sooner than I’d expected.

The car pulled into another underground station.

And I hopped off the car, ready to confront whatever remained here.

Something at the back of my mind was the nature of this place. This wasn’t a public route, this was reserved for Gehn’s servants. A tram stop hidden behind a secret elevator. I might stumble into revelations sooner rather than later.

The corridor, lined ruler straight through a rough cave, lead left and right.

A glance to the left showed an interesting door. I headed that way.

The path got a bit claustrophobic, as the walls lined with bricks closed in. I walked upwards for time.

Soundtrack – Wahrk Room
Into a large open room. Stalactites loomed overhead and stalagmites flanked the walkway.

And in the center, placed on a raised pillar, was another of Gehn’s chairs. The man liked his seats of power, apparently.

I took a seat and took a look at the controls.

Pressing the red button turned the seat around, where I was face to face with the giant blue window. A school of fish swam by. There was an unearthly beauty to it.

Pulling the little handle lowered the big sphere on the right side.

I looked at the giant ball in my lap. 6 buttons with circular symbols on them. They looked like the symbols on the rotating domes. In fact, I recognized the eye with a line from the dome on Village Island.

I pressed the button on the bottom. A light in the center turned on, blue. The tabs rotated the circle, and at the same time, the image moved. Was I looking through a camera?

Pressing the next button showed a different color, this one green. Interested, I kept going.



The circle with a line didn’t show any colors. Looking at the picture, it looked like something had broken the light off.

As I turned to the eye with a line, the same symbol highlighted from the dome on Village Island, I think I found the culprit.

Pressing the button didn’t show anything on the camera, but I looked up and saw a red light, hanging from the roof of the cave. Then, a low, drawn out wail echoed from the water.

And, from the murky depths, I met Gehn’s executioner.

It stared at the window, tilting its head like it was waiting for something. A meal, no doubt. The sound was the same as the eye in the lagoon, but I hardly needed to realize the connection.

Bored and disappointed, the tusk whale swam off.

Then a little thought entered my head. These things were animals, trained to respond to the light to act as an executioner. A simple association… but perhaps they could be disassociated?

I pressed the button again.

Soon I was rewarded by another visit. The giant was already getting a little impatient, only lingering for a second before swimming away.

A third press only earned a brief pass from the tusk whale.

I persisted, hitting the button a fourth time. This time I could see the beast approaching quickly. I wondered what was different this time.

Then it slammed into the glass, shaking the cavern and sending dust falling from the ceiling. The glass, to its credit, held fine.

The tusk whale gave a contemptuous tail flick, and swam off for the last time.

Pressing the button any more didn’t bring it back. I had to calm down a bit, but I had struck another blow against Gehn, and this one an important one. If I failed here, at least his grisly executioner was no longer at his beck and call.

Confident that the glass wasn’t about to crack and let the ocean in to claim me, I tried the handle on the left. The orb on the right lifted, and the orb on the left descended into my lap.

Two buttons, and a black screen.

I tried the right button, turning the screen on and revealing… a rock wall?

Turning the wheel with the tabs soon revealed some familiar territory.

I was looking at the lake near the village! I recognized the wooden docks and the cage tower. I remembered the little telescope, peeking out of the rock near the docks.
Does this mean that they were observing me the whole time I was exploring the lake? I tried to remember if I saw the telescope move while I was there.

Looking at the entrance to the docks revealed something interesting. A… fish? A small ball floated in the water where its eye would be. Was… I looking at the last eye on the island?

I resolved to give it a try later.

I pressed the left button, and the camera switched to a different room. There was no way to rotate the view here, and nothing seemed to happen as I waited. What was I looking at?

I didn’t recognize the room at all, but this viewer was a way to keep tabs on people. Was this someone important to Gehn? Maybe he had other prisons, though at a glance this place seemed much nicer than the barren cell.

But I had exhausted everything this viewer had to offer. Pressing the red button again raised the orbs and turned the chair back around.

I walked back down the stairs, and away from the viewing room.

The other path from the door led to a less extravagant door.

Through that, was a metal lattice and another elevator.

The orange light from below seemed to fill the room with heat from below. It wasn’t your typical elevator shaft.

I stepped inside and pressed the obvious button. The wooden door lifted up to close, and the elevator rose. I couldn’t seem much through the tiny window, but I thought I saw water.

The door opened at the top, revealing a much better decorated area than the one I left. Unless you enjoyed sheet metal floors, I suppose.

I glanced back at the elevator. More of the strange Rivenese water filled the bottom of the chamber, and I realized the lift I took was painted in gold. Had I stepped to the other side of the curtain?

Or maybe Gehn likes his aesthetics. The gate room, hidden behind a secret door in a temple, was proof enough of that.

I continued onwards, through a door at the end of the hall.

To another tram station.

I had to check around to see if I hadn’t made some kind of impossible loop, but this was a different one. The door across the gap was proof enough.

Pressing the button turned the tram around, letting me enter.

Curious, and not about to leave the island directly, I stepped inside,

Turned the tram around,

And stepped out on the other side. A bit convoluted, when they could just put a bridge in. Maybe it was one of Gehn’s ideas.

I stepped out into the fresh air, a welcome change from the stale caves.

The gantry provided a spectacular view of the islands. Far ahead of me, I could see the only island I haven’t been to, though the tram tracks nearby led directly to it. The long footbridge to the Temple Island stretched across the water. Looks like I could soon make a loop to where I started.

Looking right, I could see the distant Village Island with its jungle. Honestly, it was pretty small when you take the whole thing in, but then, many of Atrus’ own Ages had been small to begin with.

I continued upwards. Tusks lined the edges of the cliff above.

Soundtrack – Survey Island
Getting to the top, I paused at the sight. Mysterious rock formations jutted out of the water, which glowed from beneath with strange colors.

Was this man-made? The way tusks had been placed all around seemed to suggest it. The metal walkway winded through the rock formations like a snake.

Halfway through I noticed a glow from beneath. I was walking over the elevator shaft here, though why it was open to the sky escaped me.

I pressed onwards, to a wall and a set of stairs leading further upwards.

Another lagoon, this one a brilliant blue, and far shallower.

Rocky plateaus lined the sides of the path, these with strange spigots on the sides. Their purpose was a mystery.

Nowhere to go but onwards, as the narrow path got shallower, leading to a crack in the wall with some sort of plate inside.

Another elevator, and a way further up. I was starting to wonder how many more of these there were on the island.

It rose a fair ways, and stopped at a metal gantry.

I walked forward, high up in the sky. This might just be higher up than Gehn’s judgment chair.

I stepped forward and looked down at the path I just took. The rocky plateaus had been… something. Blocks, it seems. Curious, I pressed the L shaped one.

Water began to fill in from the holes in the plateau, creating a strange shape made from Riven’s stranger water.

I tried another button, and the water receded from the L shaped rock, and instead forming a shape on the plateau matching the button I pressed. I couldn’t make heads or tails of it at the time.

Thoroughly confused, I turned around. It looked like there was another way through the elevator.

This one led to yet another water feature, and a strange structure.

I stepped inside.

Inside was a small, circular room. More D’ni lined the edges, and right below me was another panel. Curious, I tapped on the glowing square.

With a metal shriek, the pins of the square in front of me lifted into a shape.

The handle on the side rotated the image around. From this side, I could see it was some kind of giant dome.

Tapping another square made the pins form a different shape, a different section.

The giant dome made me certain. This was some kind of interactive map of Temple Island. I vaguely recognized the cliff I linked too, and the paths on the outside of the giant golden dome. Was there a way to examine the other islands?

On a hunch I headed back to the gantry and its strange water formations.

The button I had pressed was the same basic shape as the one I left. This might just be the way to select an island to look at. The one with the hole… was probably the lake at Village Island. But the others…

I’m going to continue messing with this, see if the map reveals anything interesting. The top left square is an island I haven’t been to, and then there’s the final small one on the top right. I can only see four island from here, the one I’m on and the three around me. What’s this fifth island then, and where is it?

I’m not sure what the simple map will show me, but it’s worth my time taking a look.