The Let's Play Archive

The 3rd Birthday

by The Dark Id

Part 6: Feats of Strength

New Music: Unknown Unknown

So we’re jumping right into it here with our first boss fight. The game, of course, doesn’t mention it outside of datalogs. But, the Twisted poking its head, and the occasional tentacle, out of the portal on stage is known as the Helix. Despite being told to run at the end of that previous cutscene, our first order of business is taking this thing head on.

Thankfully, a trio of convenient waist high barriers have erected themselves in the middle of the arena, with two soldiers taking up both of Sayon Vogt Aya’s flanks.

Linkage for a Crossfire is our bread and butter of defending against the Helix. Technically, when it opens its mouth it is far more vulnerable to any fire. But just dumping on it in general will tick away some damage. Timing a Crossfire to hit the creature while its mouth is open is tricky since…

…Its mouth also doubles as a fireball dispenser. If we initiate the crossfire while it’s targeting one of the other soldiers, they’re liable to get wrecked mid-fire. Which doesn’t help our cause. Also, in theory we are trying to prevent deaths here. I mean, it reduces our end of chapter ranking. Think of all that BP we’re leaving on the table if we throw away lives for nothing!

Besides barfing fireballs at waist high walls, Helix’s other primary attack is a trio of ineffectual head-butts just out of range of said barriers.

If this is followed up by a big wind-up, it means the monster is going to head-butt one of the three barriers for realsies and Aya needs to Overdive to a new vessel to avoid getting a face full of Twisted forehead. I am… assuming that’s a head and not some bizarre eldritch detached rectum.

On the subject of body jacking, there’s one thing we can do in this battle that serves no purpose but to get an innocent person killed like an asshole. If you’ll look at the Overdive candidates, you’ll see one that has an icon next to them like a Driver’s License. That means they’re a civilian. Nobody said we couldn’t jack only soldiers. Remember the first lady we got horribly killed was a civilian too.

The only difference between civilians and soldiers is that the civilians don’t come equipped with a weapon. They’re limited to Aya’s magic loadout. During this boss fight, we can jack the body of cameraman Raymond Gjasula here, who is trapped up on his platform. This gives us a good vantage point to call in Crossfire attacks. However, if Aya fires at all from up here, the boss Twisted will get wise and fire a volley of fireballs at poor Ray’s direction. Since there’s no cover and Mr. Gjasula couldn’t jump down from here without breaking his legs, welp…

Later, nerd! Thanks for the free couple of Crossfires. Hey, you probably died in the original past anyway.

The only other attack the stage diver possesses is simply fanning the area with projectiles for a time. Helix’s shots are semi-homing. So anyone poking out their heads from cover will get hit. The AI is usually good about staying in cover if not being psychically linked to dump an entire magazine into an enemy with Crossfire. I mean, assuming they were already spawning in or near cover. Actually seeking shelter from being gibbed by ranged attacks is not their strong suit.

When reaching milestones in big battles like this (in this instance, depleting health bar 1 of 3), reinforcements will often spawn into an arena to take over positions of any fallen soldiers. This isn’t a guaranteed thing that can be counted on. But, it’s nice to know we cannot get completely screwed of spare meatbags, should the AI all manage to bite the dust by no fault of Aya’s during combat.

In some instances, special units will spawn on the battlefield. Hawthorn here, has decided he’s going to crash the concert’s control booth from the upper floor to take on the Twisted.

Edouard Hawthorn is special because he’s carrying the AG-C aka a grenade launcher. Also, only projectiles can hit Private Hawthorn up here. We’re out of range of any of the Helix’s melee attacks. but mostly, we’re here for the grenade launcher. We’ve only got six shots total. So we have to make it count.

The trouble is, the grenade launcher must be manually aimed and the reticle moves really slowly. There’s also about a second and a half time between firing and it hitting the Helix’s position. And hits that smack it directly in its head only count. Winging it or sending grenades into the portal won’t cut it. And if we run out of grenades, that’s it.

That is, unless we jump back down below and get lucky with Crossfire buffs like the Recharge. In which case, six more grenades will magically restock on the grenadier’s ammo belt and we can give it another go.

We want to get at least a couple direct hits in with the grenade launcher as it hits just as much as an Overdive Kill at this point.

But failing that, Crossfire until Overdive Kills kick in is the order of the day. We’ll find that dumping on a weakpoint > opportunistic Crossfire shots > Overdive Kill are how most major battles will occur. The 3rd Birthday’s gameplay isn’t exactly the deepest.

New Music: Equinox of Insanity

Eventually, when its health is fully depleted, the Helix Twisted will take its ball and go home, slamming the portal shut behind it. Everyone left alive cheers and acts like we killed the abomination, despite all Twisted crackling up and exploding on death and that thing clearly just bugging out. Oh well. Small victories…

With the Helix defeated, we’re free to head backstage and see how far the Twisted invasion has overtaken Club Sacrifice. But first, let’s take a look at the pause menu now that things have calmed down. Mostly, to laugh at Operation Rainbow Dust again because c’mon… It was a crappy goth rock concert. Who is naming these things?

Most of the tabs are self-explanatory and we won’t get into them. Except for Feats. You see, each episode of The 3rd Birthday is divided up into 2-4 Chapters. In each Chapter, there are certain feats that can be accomplished to unlock a load of extra BP as well as “Cheats” on the higher difficulties. Though, most of The 3rd Birthday’s cheats actually just make the game much harder/make Aya’s clothes explode easier… Yeah…

In this chapter, the Feats are pretty simple. Never get hit by anything ever. And basically kill every single enemy we come across. I am not going to go out of my way to accomplish all the Feats in The 3rd Birthday. There is exactly ONE scene tied to completing certain feats and uhh… Yeah, I’m not going to go out of my way to unlock it. It’s being a voyeur as Aya takes a steamy shower.

In any case, we can climb up the wreckage of the Sacrifice stage to clamber backstage. There are no signs of the remains of Sacrifice (the band), but a datalog confirms at least the lead singer is very dead. Perhaps Bass Ninja managed to flee to safety. One can only hope.

New Music: Insanity of the Enraged

Backstage is lousy with Slacker Twisted. Slackers are fairly easy to deal with in general. Mostly because they’re usually just found hanging out a decent clip from Aya and not warping in through portals (with the accompanying poorly defined invulnerability period that comes with portal warping enemies.)

Also present in bizarre abundance backstage: massive boxes full of speakers large enough to crush a man. Slackers have all taken the time to take a swipe across them. The Twisted are strange customers. Or this is just a terrible choice of repeating texture for really obvious cover. You decide!

As Aya approaches the end of the hall, a bramble like barrier blocks her path as a Wad teleports into the area. The support staff has some commentary.

…the Babel grows.
Either the Twisted or the orbs have to be destroyed in order for us to move forward.

Yes, the Babels have roots that specifically block doorways until all enemies in the area are slain. I feel like it would be better if they just didn’t try to acknowledge this was a dumb in-universe thing and just went “Fuck it, it’s a video game. Kill the baddies!” But, The 3rd Birthday cannot help itself.

Anyway, onward to the exit.

Or the costume and make-up department of the backstage. There’s quite a few more Slackers and Wads hanging out in the area. It’s worth mentioning that there are grenade pick-ups (3+ each) and ammo pick-ups (refills all ammo) out in the field. They’re almost universally hiding a Slacker ambush in this first stage. Indeed, the only way to get the Slacker genocide feat is to pop into all the monster closets to call out all the Slackers not out patrolling Aya’s path. I guess their names are apt.

Speaking of Slackers, they can NOT handle pathing around any of the fifty massive speaker boxes littering the area. They’ll just rush in place and swing in vain in Aya’s general direction as she casually guns them down from safety. Good stuff.

Past the dressing room, we come upon a lone soldier, one Daevin Ingham (is there a fucking Gundam character name generator giving these soldiers names?) is getting rocked by a lone Slacker. For some reason, the rest of the soldiers back from the boss fight decided to remain in the main concert hall while Captain Duncan Dodgson Aya went on alone.

There are sections of the game where Aya will have only the solitary flesh puppet to go alone with and if she dies in these sections, it’s Game Over. So it’s in our best interest to save the suicidal incompetent survivors we find along the way in these segments. Don’t worry, Daevin. Just take a load-off and regenerate your health.

Umm… Maybe not next to the dead Twisted. Those guys explode, you know… I… I mean you’ve had training about these guys, right? They’ve been around for over a year now. Just… step back, dude! Just a few st—


Alright… I’m just going to leave you back here. Just try not to shoot yourself in the foot or swallow any grenades, alright chief? I’ll just go… secure the area.

Further down the winding corridor, we find the second type of barrier. This one has a big glowing weak point. Later on these will show up and just start spawning other Twisted regularly. Best not to let ‘em linger about.

While we are here, see this metal gate here? There’s one behind that barrier and there was another one back at the beginning of this corridor, back by Private Dumbass. If Aya rubs up against these, it’ll spawn a Wad. Both need to be nudged to get that Wad genocide feat. No, the game doesn’t make this apparent at all. But here we are…

Slackers, on the other hand, just have a couple around some odd corners that need to be coaxed out. It’s hard not to get the Slacker elimination feat, as I’ve done here. Feats are separated into difficulty ranks between Rank 1 (easy) to Rank 5 (difficult) with BP rewards doled out accordingly.

These rankings are just for Normal and Easy difficulty. The Feat reward increases with the higher difficulties they are simply convinced people will go back and play. They’re 150% for Hard, 225% increase for Deadly, and 337.5% for Insane difficulty.

Pfft… I cannot believe I’m sitting here giving detailed information about this dumbass game and trying to be informative. The fuck am I doing with my life…?

At the end of the hallway we find ourselves at the conclusion of the chapter. I managed to make it past the Helix boss and through the four following rooms without taking any hits. Again, don’t expect me to go out of my way for future Feats.

Music: Equinox of Insanity

There are temporary points where you can restock items. Don't forget to pick up the weapons and ammo you need, or you'll end up regretting it.

So while missions are technically broken into separate chapters, there’s no big fanfare when one ends. But there will… usually… be a safe room that will restock Aya’s ammo and provide some fresh bodies for the meat grinder ahead. We’re even provided with some chatter from Aya’s potential hosts.

No way - I promised Jennifer I'd build her a house.
Is that your wife, sir?
She's a white Pomeranian. The love of my life.
...A dog, sir?
It doesn't matter who or what's waiting for you. As long as you have a reason to make it back home alive.

I’d just like to stop a moment to point out one of the soldiers speaking in this conversation is Captain Dodgson aka the person Aya Brea has been possessing since the boss battle. So… the people Aya is possessing are still conscious and can hold conversations. Is Aya’s soul just giving suggestions to the host’s consciousness to do action rolls and use a magic array of weaponry pulled out of the ether of their own volition? This raises so many questions that will never be addressed.

Also particularly of note is a laptop in the safe room that links back to the future so Aya can splice her DNA and mod her weaponry. Again, if they didn’t pretend this was an in-world thing acknowledged by characters and just had tutorial tips pop up, it’d feel less dumb and nonsensical. But again, The 3rd Birthday just cannot help itself.

Aya picked up Boost Fire, which just has a chance to boost the strength of Crossfire shots. Always helpful.

I jacked up the power and accuracy of her arsenal too since Feats do give out a healthy amount of BP and this is pretty much all we’ll have going for us during the rest of this mission.

I can envision it right now, Captain Dodgson. So we’re going to go ahead and finish this update.

Tune in next time when Aya Brea possibly encounters a ghost or something! And maybe actually bothers to save a few people. Or not! We'll see!

Video: Helix Boss Battle
(Should be working now.)

Aya Brea Concept – No… No! Bad, Nomura! Bad!