The Let's Play Archive

The 3rd Birthday

by The Dark Id

Part 4: Flavor Text

Music: Wait for the Combustion

Aya Brea doesn’t blink. Nobody blinks. They didn’t create closed eye textures for the in-game models, so everyone has an endless dead-eyed stare. I know it is real minor in the grand scheme of things wrong with The 3rd Birthday. But c’mon. They made 11 different costume meshes for Aya, but having a closed eye texture that occasionally cycled in was a bridge too far?

Don’t give me “well it’s a PSP game” excuse. Blinking technology existed as far back as the PlayStation 1. Parasite Eve 2 Aya Brea could close her eyes in-game. Did the amnesia strip away the ability for her eyelids to function too?

Anyway, lack of effort in texture work aside, now that we’ve fiddled with multiple nonsensical gameplay mechanics, we’re free to speak with our support staff and explore the CTI building a bit. We passed by Dr. Blank earlier. So let’s see what his deal is while we’re off duty.

I will.
A new world... Earth 2.0. I wanna see it, buuut at the same time, it scares me.
Well, I like the world as it is. There's the Overdive system. There's you. And then there's me, I can do all the research I want.
And the Twisted killing tons of people… That part is a downer. But hey, they haven’t gotten me yet! That has to count for something.

It would just be a piece of junk. And then what would I do?

Annoyingly, most NPCs do have a second line of dialogue. But a chat is automatically initiated by running up to a character, not prompted with a button. So to trigger a second line of dialogue, Aya needs to take a short jog several steps away from the person in question and then run back. But not too quickly! Since there’s a delay in the first conversation ending and the flag for the second dialogue line being available.

Now, Blank mentioned that Aya was the only one who could use the Overdive device. And some vague stuff about research and the like. So, The 3rd Birthday’s narrative is never going to mention where the Overdive device came from, how they even figured out Aya can Quantum Leap into people, how CTI was established, pretty much any background details on the core cast beyond Aya, the definition of several proper nouns the game will spit out, or the state of the general world beyond Manhattan.

So, between Dr. Blank and the upgrade terminal is a second computer console.

Have you ever played our buddy Toriyama’s other narrative trainwreck, Final Fantasy XIII? You know how that game hid away multiple, kinda important world details and general useful information, which really ought to have been explained directly to the player, in an optional side Infolog codex?

Guess what, pal? The 3rd Birthday pulls that exact same sort of shit! You want to know the state of the world and events that transpired between the intro and modern day? Or maybe how Aya ended up with amnesia in the first place? Maybe some info on these chucklefucks we’re working with beyond their name and general character archetype? Well get reading! It’s all here in mountains and mountains of text files.

I’m not going to jump into any of this shit just now. Just the Timeline tab is about 20 entries, each with a paragraph or two of text. But don’t worry, we’ll get to it as filler when I’m too busy for a proper update, but want some friend content in due time.

Anyway, Hyde Bohr, the much less intimidating cousin of Jack Bauer, was hanging out by the Overdive machine. Let’s see what’s crackin’ with the boss. Not to be confused with The Boss, who is another character we’ve yet to meet. And before you get excited, it’s not Naked Snake’s soldier mom.

You're going to be focusing on taking out the Babel.
Yes, sir.
The goal of your mission is destroy the Big Orb within the Babel. This is said to be the core, or the main organ of the Babel - the heart that keeps it alive.
I understand.
Once that's done, it shouldn't be long before the Babel destroys itself.
Granted, we have never done this before. But we are fairly… mostly… pretty sure it will work. Above 50% certainty. With a 8.7% margin of error…
Yes, sir.
If you get to the Babel soon after it spawns, there's a good chance it can be destroyed. It's just a chance, but it's the best we've got.
One in a million is still not a negative figure, after all.
And if we fail?
Let's just say... our future will be very bleak.
Also you will be dead. But… no pressure! I have full confidence in your abilities.
…Yes, sir.

The boss couldn't believe the past could be changed. Now's your chance to prove him wrong. I know it can happen.

If you have ever played Parasite Eve 2, that game had an incredibly huge amount of flavor text where Aya would give multiple thoughts on just about any item of interest in a room. This made the game feel a lot more fleshed out and gave some pretty good characterization to Aya for a game that was primarily just her alone fighting weird mutants in the middle of nowhere.

The 3rd Birthday does have some flavor text, though not nearly as often, from Aya regarding her thoughts on assorted junk around the CTI building (and rarely during missions as well.) The thing is… Aya kind of sighs and grunts and breaths heavily every single time she examines something. Imagine if you were playing a JRPG and every time you clicked on a background detail, your character made the Doom Guy grunt. Only it was in rapid succession with each dialog prompt and there were multiple grunts and they were all feminine so it sounded questionable to a person listening out of sight.

I included an example in the video at the end. It is… Yeah. Anyway, there are quite a few things we can examine around the room. I hope you like to hear our heroine’s inner monologue having shit self-confidence and bagging on herself constantly. For this update, I'm going to separate each prompt. Just to give you all an idea of how many times Aya makes a sighing/grunt.

I fell asleep here at some point. What if I'd just gone on sleeping?
I'll never get used to that sensation.

Is that why you’re choosing to continue sleeping on a prison cot or…?

Why am I so afraid of knowing the past? Because there's nowhere I want to go back to?
The machine will take me into the past. But who could be waiting for me there?
Can this really change the world?

Well, we’ve yet to establish what sort of time travel rules we’re actually operating on here. Is it Back to the Future rules, where altering the past will gradually change the future if things are not corrected? Is it Chrono Trigger/Cross rules where you can alter the past and completely change history, but the sequel will fuck you over royally for your time shenanigans? Is it all timeline alterations create different dimensions?

I can't stop shivering when I come in here.
If the past changes, I might not be able to come back here anymore.
Everyone's so afraid of my power... They're treating me like some kind of lab rat.

On the first point, wear a jacket. On the second point, you’ve created a Time Paradox good job. On the third point, you possess men’s souls and make them your slaves! It’s a bit worrisome.

Damn. There go my nerves again.
Don't pin your hopes on me. I don't want to betray anyone or be betrayed.

I miss sassy flavor text Aya Brea… RIP.

Easy, now. Remember your training.
Shivering in fear - that's when I truly feel alive.

Seeing that refreshing vulnerability is the only way I can get it har—I MEAN!

This is the only place I belong. I guess that makes it home sweet home.
So the CTI is the place I come back to... No one's exactly saying ''welcome home.''
I prefer a dimmer lighting scheme. Better to close my eyes and imagine.

“No really, I prefer a dank prison cell. It’s fine!”

At least a dream ends when you open your eyes. My nightmare goes on forever.
I've got to go or this place will be in danger. If I don't do something, I can't save anyone.

That’s not true at all. The nightmare of The 3rd Birthday is only like 12 hours long.

Everyone gives me guidance over the radio. What will happen to them all if I fail?
I don't want to say goodbye like this.

You never hear about the awkward time after everyone is done screaming Snake’s name after he dies tumbling into the ocean slipping on bird shit or something.

“Authorized Personally Only.” Too late to try and get in here.
“Submit All Receipts to Blank.” ...Apparently he buries everything deep in the budget.

Those bleeding hearts in the military oversight committee can never know how much CTI spends annually on Chipotle.

It's Blank's, but everyone uses it. Cray writes his name on his bottles.
The chief says eating and drinking is prohibited, but I've seen a few bottles of his in here from time to time.

Look, there’s a lot of down time for the support staff while you’re off body jacking people in the past. Though, for that matter… how exactly do they see what Aya’s soul is doing back in time? Does the Overdrive machine see what she sees or… You know what? I already know there isn’t an answer to that question.

That is all of Aya’s observations and chats held in the Overdive Room. Clicking on the door we entered from will allow us to travel to two other locations in the CTI Building. All of which involve lockers, apparently. May as well go down the list.

New Music: dayDreamer

Welcome to the Weapons Locker. This is where the guns and Thelonious Cray hang out, alongside more upbeat funky music. Let’s see what Cray has to say.

There have been no witness or survivors that have come back to tell their tale. Not a one.
Haha! Fuck the data! You know you can do this. Think of the training you went through. Aya! How many times did you lose consciousness?
Ten times, perhaps? I don't remember.
They say I probably didn’t get any brain damage… Probably…
Ah, exactly! After experiencing that, you're ready for anything.
Yes, sir.
Though …I don’t think I follow. At all.
Soldiers are made on the battlefield. Even watching a fellow soldier take down an enemy can be an education. If you want to be the best, don't overlook the actions of those around you.
When I fight, those around me are health power-ups. I try not to think about it too much…
Don't relax! Stay on your toes! Be ready for anything! Fear can be a powerful weapon in battle.
I… how?
I err… well… I mean like… controlling fear. Yeah.
That’s a completely different statement.
See! Keeping you on your toes, rookie!

There’s more flavor text from Aya in items around the Weapon Locker/Break Room. Let’s take a look.

You can't do anything about a nervous dry mouth in the middle of an Overdive.

Ah yes. SOFT DRINK – my favorite brand!

They need to hire more staff. This place is a mess.

I mean… it is right there. That’s a recycling bin. You can forgive not sorting bottles and cans what with the whole tentacle monsters and pan-dimensional invasion going on, Aya.

Cray showed me how to use it.
It's pretty heavy - can I even handle this?

Christ… Yes, Aya! You can probably handle wielding a fire extinguisher! You can power up and start flipping around while firing akimbo pistols like Neo. You are fairly physically fit. I’m pretty sure you can handle a safety tool young children and the elderly can work.

An old magazine. I wonder who left it here.
I wonder if whoever this magazine belongs to is still alive.

I regularly go into dentists’ offices and ponder deeply if the hands that touched this November 2015 issue of Time magazine have left this mortal coil. Turn it down a notch, lady.

“Marksmanship Exam - Top Rankings.” My results were absolutely abysmal.
“Safety First.” “Watch out for explosions,” you mean.

…The hell kind of marksmanship are we talking about? Were they using the rocket launcher pistols from Parasite Eve 1. Nah. Couldn’t be anything that fun.

I can practically hear Cray. Did I really pass out?
Cray said sufficient training will give me confidence.

I mean, that sounds like a physical issue and not one of mental fortitude. But what do I know? Besides, this bench looks like an upgrade from Aya’s prison cell cot.

Gabrielle and I used to come here a lot.
I need more training so I can grow stronger.

Pay no mind to me while I inner monologue, good sir. Aya mentions this Gabrielle name a couple times in here. That may become relevant later on. If we were to go look up that datalog computer, we would find she was a CTI member who was killed in action some time ago.

By the way, this station doubles as another place we can change our weapon loadout. Just in case the one terminal with all the upgrades together wasn’t sufficient.

The reason for that is that right next to the weapon loadout counter and its nameless, motionless attendant ghouls is the CTI Battle Simulator.

Entering will toss Aya into an empty concrete room with her weapon drawn and nothing to do.

We’ve actually got to turn around and click on the terminal next to the entrance to begin any of the combat simulations/weapon testing courses. Too much work to just have that menu pop-up automatically. Don’t click too far to the left or Aya will attempt to leave the area!

The three test targets will just produce an invincible stationary or semi-mobile target for Aya to dump ammo into to test out her weapons. This cannot be used to level up Aya’s weapon proficiency. It’s just for funsies.

We can also have the simulation drop a Slacker into the room for field testing of our weapons against a Twisted. Don’t ask why CTI has a live Twisted living in the attic. If you’re truly curious, that info is in the codex… Really.

The Slacker has infinite HP, but so does Aya. Aya does not, however, have infinite ammo for her weapons outside the pistol. So… I’m uncertain what purpose any of this serves. It’s not any of the weapons are remarkably different. Nor can we try upgrades before buying them. All purchases are final. There are not tests or achievements to be done here. It’s largely pointless. Sooo… let’s move on!

It is worth mentioning that the only way to cancel the Battle Simulator is by exiting the room. And menus do not freeze time. So if Aya summons the immortal Twisted, she has to bait it into the opposite side of the room and then flee to the door to escape. Just top to bottom, this game has issues.

The last area we can explore in the CTI building is the Locker Rooms. I’m sure this will be a great time.

Music: Wait for the Combustion

The primary function of this area is to switch costumes. Which, again, we can do back at the central terminal hub. I suspect they were originally going to force the player to go to the locker room or weapon locker to sort out Aya’s outfits and weapon upgrades. There’s also another useless console next to the Overdive machine that just links back to the central terminal that could have been for Gene upgrades. I guess someone on staff saw that might be tedious and made it so all the menu sorting could be done in one place. But taking out the vestigial parts would have made the HQ feel more barren than it already was. So here we are.

In true exploration sensibilities, it’s best to wander in the opposite direction first. So let’s check out the Men’s Locker. Don’t worry. They couldn’t be bothered to program any NPCs to make it seem like there was more than 5 people working in the entire CTI building. Nobody will care about Aya’s trespassing. Once more, we’ve a healthy helping of flavor text.

There's graffiti here. “Vote for the CTI's most hated.”
The boss is in first place. I'm not surprised...
It's a notice of upcoming company physicals. Not really appropriate at a time like this.
They're always checking my physical condition, but all those numbers can't tell them how I feel deep inside.
I carry special genes within my body. I can always count on looking younger than I am.

Hey, they actually acknowledged something from Parasite Eve 2. The really dumbass thing where Aya’s magic mitochondria wanted a host in peak physical condition, so they de-aged her body. Of note: Aya Brea was the wizened ancient age of… 27 in Parasite Eve 2 when they pulled that.

Also, this “the boss” fellow must really be a dick if New Aya’s depressed goth teenager inner thoughts think he’s an asshole too.

“The Leavenworth Incident.” This is an old article.

Oh yeah, by the way. Despite the introduction of Manhattan getting owned and the entirety of this game taking place in the city, The Twisted and the Babels and tentacle monstrosities are a worldwide epidemic. Indeed, the world is in the middle of an ongoing apocalypse with hundreds of millions dead. None of this will be mentioned unless we go read the codex. That incident? Not foreshadowing anything. I am pretty sure that’s solely outlined in the text dump logs as well.

She was a popular actress not long ago. Did I have a favorite actor? Was I someone's fan?

Aya Brea was incredibly into the works of Nicholas Cage. But aren’t we all, really?

“Art Gallery Exhibition: Admit One.” No one will be using this anytime soon.

Bad memories about an opera house? That’s a weirdly specific notion to have while suffering from amnesia.

It's much dirtier than the women's room. Ugh. I'd better get out of here.
If anyone caught me here, I'd get an earful.

You don’t say, Aya? The women’s washroom is cleaner than the men’s, eh? There was literally one other female member of CTI besides you and she’s dead.

Speaking of the women’s locker room, let’s head on over there now and snoop around.

Most of the pages contain articles about the Twisted. They've come to be just another occurrence these days.

Oh pfft. Air Force One crashed and the President died again? How blasé. Yep, the world of The 3rd Birthday at large is actually incredibly fucked. But again, outside of offhand blurbs like this, the greater world crisis is just relegated to optional text files.

Nearby is Aya’s locker. Despite the flak jacket, oversized chrome helmet, and gigantic clown boots in and around Aya’s locker, none of those are available options. Just the white jacket or later dressing like you’ve thrown away all your dignity.

I hear it's really easy to move in.
I don't think I have any abilities for this suit to draw out right now.

That is, of course, the porn shoot secretary outfit. In a New Game +, Aya decides she will steal this costume and don the sexy librarian look. But she’s not yet worked up enough confidence to do so this playthrough. What a shame.

Is this locker broken?
I shouldn't leave anything important in here, huh?

In the opening hour of Parasite Eve, an opera Aya was attending had the lead singer set the entire audience on fire. Aya’s date was the only other survivor, but he was a huge blubbering pussy so she shoulder checked him out of the way to shut him up. She then confronted the singer, who turned into a 12 foot tall flying albino mutant with hands the size of tree trunks that could shoot Kamehameha waves. She then pursued said mutant combustion lady into the sewers, where she battled a 20 foot tall mutant alligator that barfed laser beams.

Just for perspective on where Aya’s character started out.

Looks like a poster of a pro athlete. I don't know who it is, though.

Aya, the internet existed in 2013 last I checked. I know you have amnesia, but you can, in fact, look this shit up instead of constantly being in some spaced out fugue state while sleeping all day in your empty prison cell. I feel like you’re not making an effort to improve your position here.

Unlike the Men’s Locker Room, we can continue into the bathroom portion of the area. Well, the shower portion at least. There aren’t actually toilets in the CTI building.

If Gabrielle were alive, she'd have a thing or two to say about it.

That is because that is all your dirty laundry, Aya. CTI members are actually supposed to take this shit to the laundromat weekly. Evidentially, the only person taking responsibility for laundry duties died. Really, I think you are riding this amnesia thing unreasonably now...

So soft and fluffy!
I hear some people take these towels home.

You won’t have to worry about that with Ms. Brea. She lives in an on-site detention facility.

I don't even look like myself.
That's one scar that won't go away...

Are we entirely sure Aya didn’t suffer brain damage from whatever incident inflicted amnesia? Is that in the infologs somewhere?

I like showers. I can wash off my sweat and everything bad along with it.
Someone always forgets their loofah. I wonder who it could be.

This is the last stop in the Locker Room. So there’s a shower here. And Aya seems into the ideas of a shower. And there is indeed a CGI shower scene with no function other than to see Aya as naked as they can away with and not have it turn into a porn scene. It is unlocked by completing a certain objective in upcoming missions. This objective changes with the difficulty level. The 3rd Birthday! Class!

Anyway, that concludes our tour of the CTI Building. Nothing left to do but to carry onward to the next mission.

Mission 2 will be taking us to Club Sacrifice where Seamus Rose was having a Christmas Eve concert one year ago. This will be dubbed “Operation Rainbow Dust” because the military in this universe names things like fruitloop assholes.

Tune in next time when Aya Brea goes back in time to get a bunch of people killed all over again. It should be fun.

Video: Part 4 Highlight Reel
(Recommend Viewing)

Business Suit Outfit Concept Art – I wonder if Toriyama and Nomura are buddies, cuz judging by Parasite Eve 1 concept art, Nomura was wanking it to Aya Brea before it was cool.