The Let's Play Archive

Stygian: Reign of the Old Ones

by TheGreatEvilKing

Part 5: Attack of the KKKultists

Welcome back! Last time the developers showed that they were racist as well as inept!

Full disclosure, I have not actually beaten this game in full, and I am hoping that we don't need some kind of critical plot progression from the racist over there. Moving on!

Cornelius wanted us to go sleep at the Old Eel House, home of Marino (the bartender who keeps calling us cornuto) and go get his watch he hid under the floorboards of an establishment controlled by the mafia. We could point out that Cornelius is kind of a moron, but this is entirely consistent with his characterization as a dumbass who walked into the Mafia bar and denounced the Mafia in the name of Jesus Christ.

The writers have absolutely no faith in the player to investigate and explore their environment, so we must be spoon-fed the next plot device by a series of rapidly materializing NPCs who are deadly determined to stalk this old woman for showing any kind of agency. Conversely, there's not much reward for exploration as everything is carefully corraled so that you must go to the next step on the Generic White Man Railroad.

Now, you might ask why they need to describe him as "talkative looking" when he shouted at a random woman he didn't know to join him in the bar, but let's be honest, we're not here for the writing.

: Sure

: Information comes with a price.

: Ah, I see. You will fit in perfectly in this grim new world, madam, but know that you will get no cigs from me.

: Let me introduce myself. I am Stanley Fredkin. I used to be a lecturer in the Literature Department at Miskatonic, before committing wholly to my true intellectual passion, the study of folklore.

: Sure.

: (He turns to Marino) Some whiskey for this fine lady here. And not the usual rotgut you serve, real whiskey if you please.

I believe we actually do get whiskey we can drink to restore sanity, at the risk of becoming an alcoholic. Really.

: So you study folk tales?

: The book doesn't sound essential at all.

Marino actually sells copies of it for use as toilet paper, I'll try to grab the description next update.

: It may not sound essential to a person who hasn't the slightest interest in the hundred-years-old oral tradition which defined the very land in which she dwells.

: Why are you looking for the rustic man?

: Who is this employer?

Sure, Stanley, sure.

: I see. Another thing...

: You mentioned Miskatonic. Did you mean the university on Main Street?

: No, I meant the river! Don't people learn about major water bodies in school these days? Heh, forgive me. Sometimes the sarcastic Stanley takes hold. Yes, I used to work at Miskatonic University.

Miskatonic is home to literally every book of dark magic Lovecraft and his friends made up, so that self-insert white men could read them and get really scared that Cthulhu was going to destroy white supremacy but also find counterspells to maintain the status quo.

: What have you been studying lately?

: Oh, I see that I've stoked your interest! I've been known to have that effect on people. Being an intellectual inspiration and all.

: To get to your question, I've been in Vermont recently recording the legends of the winged ones of the hills. A very profound topic indeed.

Look, asshole, we all know you're just ripping off The Whisperer in Darkness because this game is based entirely on a surface reading of Lovecraft. Get on with it!

: From Pennacook myths to the legends of Governor Wentworth's colonial grants, you will find mention of these winged beings from the skies. Whispers of these creatures may be found even in the folklore of the distant Himalayas.

The Whisperer in Darkness posted:

The Pennacook myths, which were the most consistent and picturesque, taught that the Winged Ones came from the Great Bear in the sky, and had mines in our earthly hills whence they took a kind of stone they could not get on any other world. They did not live here, said the myths, but merely maintained outposts and flew back with vast cargoes of stone to their own stars in the north. They harmed only those earth-people who got too near them or spied upon them. Animals shunned them through instinctive hatred, not because of being hunted. They could not eat the things and animals of earth, but brought their own food from the stars. It was bad to get near them, and sometimes young hunters who went into their hills never came back. It was not good, either, to listen to what they whispered at night in the forest with voices like a bee’s that tried to be like the voices of men. They knew the speech of all kinds of men—Pennacooks, Hurons, men of the Five Nations—but did not seem to have or need any speech of their own. They talked with their heads, which changed colour in different ways to mean different things.

: And what do you suspect is the reason?

: Forget about it then.

: Is there anything you're not good at?

: I'll keep that in mind.

: Goodbye.

He does do this if you're a man too, but I think it's funnier imagining him being pissed at failing a pass at Bertha.

: (Wait for him to continue)

: Tell me more.

TheGreatEvilKing summary posted:

: Excuse me, do you want to progress the plot madam?

: I don't have a choice, huh? Sure, why not. Who are you?

: I am Stanley Fredkin, and I used to teach literature at Miskatonic University, until I found my true passion: folklore! I wrote a great book! The greatest book! Everyone read my book! Did you read it?

: It sounds boring, and I can definitely shit all over a folklorist from my lofty vantage of being a sex wizard.

: It sounds boring, but this is a Lovecraft game! You ever read The Whisperer in Darkness? Yeah, we're doing that now! Anyway, look out for a rustic man! I am smart! I am very smart! And I know how to escape! Wooooo! Oh, shit, I'm drunk and said too much. Bye!

We have to pay our least favorite bartender to stay in the attic. Let me assure you the watch sells for more than 40 cigs.

Every time you sleep in the attic while the Outsider is in your party, you have to sit through a cutscene of him breaking in through the window because he refuses to enter buildings except the Essex hotel. I don't know either.

When you rest you have a pool of action points you can use to queue up various researches, such as researching science blueprints or occult manuscripts. No, you can't just buy manuscripts and learn the spell that way, that wouldn't be realistic. Shame on you!

This allows us to have a lower chance of getting ambushed if it's in the inventory. I suspect I will forget it. The Outsider researched the Danforth's Compass artifact and learned that it gives us increased map speed. You should never research artifacts if you have spells to learn because Google exists and will tell you what they do.

Anyway I grab the watch from underneath the floorboards and completely fail to screenshot it. Whoops! Let's get to that church so we can help our not-stalker out for XP and cigarettes.

The rustic man is also a Whisperer in Darkness reference, because actually taking the ideas and themes of Lovecraft and updating them for a modern context is a lot harder than just mindlessly regurgitating pap for nerds.

: What is this?

The Outsider wants to talk about this.

: Last time I saw his master, he looked to be in considerable trouble.

Fredkin described the guy as a servant of his employer, not as a servant of himself. Whatever.

We have a note. We'll start that quest next update, because it takes us to a fucking awful dungeon. Just awful. Unfortunately, we don't get to talk to Cornelius.

Hey, how's it going?

I'm not really sure the juxtaposition of the KKKultists with the blackface racist guy is really helping your case, game.

The cultist blows his horn and the dogs start barking. I will say this for the Stygian developers, making the cultists white KKK looking guys is better than Lovecraft's interpretation where the cultists are "mongrels" (his word, not mine!) with names like Castro who...

Holy shit, Lovecraft! No! posted:

Of the swarthy cult-fiends on the Alert he speaks with significant horror. There was some peculiarly abominable quality about them which made their destruction seem almost a duty,

I'm not sure if I mentioned this in the LP specifically, but Lovecraft's cosmic horror is very much based around the idea that sheltered white men specifically might not be the top dogs of the universe, and if you're going to do any kind of interpretation of Lovecraft that's something you are going to need to deal with or excise.

The dogs bring down poor Cornelius.

Somehow the blood on Cornelius' model miraculously disappears as the head cultist pronounces judgement. I'm personally not sure the developers considered the optics of having the KKKultists show up to attack a man with dogs while pronouncing him to be genetically inferior, but, uh, these are the same guys who thought Coaly Willie was appropriate for a game they attached their real names to.

You just know there was one dipshit on the development team who tried to make Cornelius black.

They stab the shit out of Cornelius here. No, we can't intervene despite having guns and magic and shit. This is a cutscene!

Cornelius falls and the cultists walk away.

It is entirely possible to fuck yourself over as a first time player and get a game over because you didn't get high enough to survive seeing this shit.

At least we didn't get ANGST.

As you do, Cornelius is able to spit out 4+ screens of dialog despite being stabbed by cultists repeatedly. Clearly, the Cthulhu cult has made great strides in hospice care.

Because we're materialistic we can't actually use the watch to do anything. Divine characters can trade it to fix the church, and esoteric characters can trade it to Isidore for an artifact. We, on the other hand, think only of material things, so we can only be a massive dick to Cornelius here. What is this "tact" you speak of?

: How about I do something for myself? (While placing the watch in your pocket)

What a hero.

TheGreatEvilKing summary posted:

: It's time to do a hate crime! This guy would be a terrible sacrifice! Stabbity stab!

: No...I am dying. But I have for...four screens of dialogue. I am of this shitty game...but promise will use my watch for...something you believe in.

: Fuck that, I'm selling it and spending the money on hookers.

: *dies*

Oh fuck off. Anyway, I go to sell a bunch of loot offscreen, and think to myself, "as a materialistic character, what would the developers of Stygian expect me to do?"

See you all next time as we shamelessly rip off Whisperer in Darkness!