The Let's Play Archive

The 3rd Birthday

by The Dark Id

Part 7: Bernfried Rockel

So it’s been a little over a half hour diving into the mess at Club Sacrifice. But I feel like we’ve been here all week. Let’s see what dumb shit is in store next for Aya Brea in the past.

Following the safe room, Aya has resumed her cutscene status of meekly creeping about like something is about to jump her at any moment.

Meanwhile, a ghost walks onto the scene. Wait, what…?

It’s just a young woman that walked out of a wall and materialized in a blue haze. Nothing suspicious here. Go about your business.

Yeah, sure. It’s just like your dream. Except in the dream we saw, the girl had an alien face. I joke about this game being unable to stay consistent for more than 20 minutes, but it really just cannot. Regardless of freaky face, the girl in your dream had short blonde hair. Not red. The only similarity is a young woman with short hair. That’s a stretch, Aya.

The Babel's changing?

Aya’s muddled musings on vague foreshadowing dreams is interrupted by an earthquake and more Babel roots erupting from the floor to block access back to the previous safe room behind Aya. Everyone acts as though this is surprising when the whole of Manhattan Island and the surrounding areas ought to be getting a face lift from alien tree roots right about now.

In any case, the mysterious, possibly ghost girl isn’t interested in Aya’s dream crap or her flopping on the floor for the fifth time. So she wanders off in search of someone else to haunt or whatever ghosts do on Christmas Eve when not guilt tripping elderly curmudgeons.

It’s not as though ghosts are new to this universe. Aya’s dead twin sister Maya (parents that name their kids like this are assholes) frequently showed up as a ghost/hallucination in the original Parasite Eve. They never really explained what was up with that beyond Mitochondria are a basically magic nodes that can do anything the plot desires when activated. Also the actual Maya Brea turned into a naked kung-fu angel and was chilling out on the top floor of the Chrysler Building. Long story. Parasite Eve was weird.

Ghost tangent aside, Aya climbs to her feet to pursue the mysterious survivor. But as soon as gameplay resumes, she’s vanished. Like a ghost! Don’t worry. There’s a perfectly logical explanation for all of this. But to the task at hand: in this chapter our goal is to wander around the apparently massive Club Sacrifice while destroying all the orbs in the area. Sounds simple enough.

The path back to the safe room is blocked off. Not that it matters. Unless the game directs us towards a door, Aya lacks the ability to return to previous rooms. Unless the game decides it does want us to be able to backtrack. The 3rd Birthday is very fickle in allowing Aya to backtrack in general. So it’s best to scour a room for all enemies/supplies/warm bodies before moving onward. It’s fairly annoying.

For this chapter, Aya has decided to be a bit altruistic for a change and is willing to rescue civilians if it means a nice bonus on her paycheck. Soldiers are still fully expendable, of course. We also have the cryptic bonus of defending a platform. Which… Alright?

Slackers and Wads are out in force in the halls of the club. Every room has, at minimum, about 5-8 Slackers and at least 3-6 Wads bumming about. This chapter has a decent amount of backtracking as we crisscross between areas (in a linear fashion because the game only gives one exit per visit to a map) and all the Twisted will respawn most visits.

Music: Insanity of the Enraged

In most every room we’ll have to destroy 2-3 orbs in order to proceed. Orbs in this area all will spawn a Wad (just the one per glowing weak point) to defend itself. If said Wad is destroyed while the orb is still active, it’ll go ahead and spawn another Wad. You can guess what the priority to target is here.

Also, pay no attention to the fact this thing is clearly not an orb shape and is more of a shard. Look, the first few glowing weak points the military all reported were all spherical when the term was designated and it took millions in taxpayers’ money for that analysis. Nobody could have foresaw these extra-dimensional entities would start coming out as shards, or pyramids, or rhombuses!

Further into the labyrinthine halls of Club Sacrifice, we come upon a soldier wielding the game’s first shotgun. Jumping into him will also unlock a shotgun the next time we can reorganize Aya’s loadout in a time laptop.

Shotguns are… pretty much complete garbage if they haven’t been upgraded. Their chief use is the fact they can –potentially- have very high Impact stats (read: stun for Overdive Kill.) But the vanilla flavor one here doesn’t have any of that. If Aya is moving at all, the shotgun shells’ fire just disperses into mist immediately after firing. Since that’s how bullet spread works.

If Aya stays still, the shotgun spread will stabilize. But even then, they work on typical video game shotgun rules of being completely ineffective unless standing within two feet of a target. One day, the great revelation that shotguns can hit something a good 30+ yards away, no problem, will come. But this is not that day nor the game.

Continuing further into the complex, we come to a club dance floor, not to be confused with the earlier concert hall, with a lone National Guardsman defending a big neon box platform in the center. Remember that Feat about “securing the platform”? Yeah… It’s this stupid thing.

Several Slackers are lumbering over to the gaudy box and beating on it while the soldier on top flails ineffectually, since he cannot quite target enemies straight down from him unless Aya initiates a Crossfire. But don’t worry, you inept fool. Captain Duncan Dodgson Aya Brea has got your back.

In the corner of the room is a large, gross mound that looks like an alien nest with a very large red glowing point. This is a proper mission objective Orb that Aya is supposed to destroy. These operate the same way as the door barrier ones. Only they will spawn additional Wads at regular intervals. Not just the one they’ll continuously respawn.

This room also serves as a tutorial for using Overdive to No-Clip through walls in order to reach otherwise blocked off areas. Segments of the room are divided by Babel gunk. But doing a couple of Overdives will allow us to reach civilian Jackie Zabel here, spawn a bootleg M4 into his hands, and have him open up on the last Orb located in the area. Soldiers don’t care if jacked Civilian bodies are suddenly armed and will follow orders for Crossfire, just like normal. The only difference between soldiers and civilians is that civvies don’t come carrying a default weapon.

Anyway, we successfully secured that platform. Wouldn’t want that one particular piece of architecture to go to ruin as the rest of the club crumbles and is twisted apart around it, now would we. Also of note, we’re continuing onward in the body of the civilian.

Remember the rescuing civilians feat? It actual requires Aya to boost their bodies and manually walk each and every one to this safe room. Turns out nobody here has any sort of base survival instincts and having Aya engage with any humans beyond telling them to fire at the same time is beyond her capabilities. Amnesia, you see. Completely crippled her social interactions skills. As soon as Aya enters the safe room, she’ll immediately jump into a soldier’s body as that civilian is deemed rescued.

Oh yes, and remember how I said there was no returning to previous rooms once Aya leaves? Yeah, if you don’t jack this nitwit and walk him out of that area before we ever reach, or even know about, the safe room. Yeah, he’s dead and there’s no going back for him. Spoilers: I missed a civilian and didn’t finish this Feat. Not too torn up about it.

So while we may be in a safe room, this only serves as a temporary hub for excursions into the rest of the club and a place to return with more civilians, should we feel so inclined. Just outside this room is another Twisted bramble path blocking the exit out of the area. And of course, all the Orbs in the area are load bearing pillars to destroying that barrier.

So back to the grind we go. There is yet another dance hall and dining area outside the safe room. This one has a duo of survivors hanging out. They are nice enough to spawn civilians out of the way of the central mass of Twisted.

Though if we jump into either of them, a Slacker immediately spawns right next to ‘em and is dead set on decapitating them. But, it’s fine. While Aya is jacking a body, civilians are just as hardy as anyone. They’re totally dead in 2-3 hits if Aya jumps away though.

Also worth noting, if there are two civilians in an area, Aya needs to clear all of the enemies, mind jack one of them, escort their body back to the safe room, then return (to respawned monsters) to do the same thing with the other civilian. Good stuff.

Of the two survivors in Dance Hall 2, I decided Belle Rehhagel took priority as I am fairly certain she’s having a seizure or possibly trying to vibrate a hole in the space-time continuum to escape this horrific reality. It’s difficult to say.

Yeah, I missed two of the remaining survivors. Apparently, the game wanted you to worm around to a previous area where one had spawned out of the ether or some such. Sorry. We’ve got things to do, folks.

Things such as doubling back through the main hall and cutting through to the bar area/third (4th?) dance hall of the club. Also, whoops! Didn’t notice… Bernfried Rockel here in the ten seconds it takes to run across the hallway. Wait... Fucking Bernfried Rockel?! That is a NPC's name? Bernfried. Rockel.


I’m going to be frank. You deserve to die with that sort of name. Aya is doing you a favor with this negligence.

Is this place like the realm in Dark Souls 3? Have all the clubs of the five boroughs all converged on this one area? Why are there like five clubs worth of floor space in this dump and enough hallways to fit an entire subway line?

The final trio of shards Orbs are hanging out in a festering pile on the upper level of the final dance floor. It’s like they had several concept arts for what they wanted the glowing weak point gameplay filler elements to be and decided to just throw all three in without consulting the writing staff. And then I remembered Square-Enix’s development set-up at the time actually was all departments just doing their own thing without really communicating until toward the end and welp… Thankfully, they didn’t make enough excess art assets for multiple sequels like they did with Final Fantasy XIII.

Aida von Bose is the last of the survivors Aya manages to ferry back to the safe room. Seriously, what is going on with the random name generator in this game?

Private Lloyd, shut the fuck up! Even in clever, well written self-aware games, that sort of line universally falls flat. The 3rd Birthday is neither clever nor well written. Don’t even try this noise.

Now that we’ve managed to destroy all of the orbs in the area, the path in the back of the safe room hallway has opened up. Let’s see what the next chapter holds for Aya.

We’ve now officially been dicking around in the past for over an hour. I mean… it’s been more like half that gameplay wise, even if we took our time. But details…

Hmm… An injured civilian. Should we call in one of the trained field medics literally one room over, perhaps? Ehh…

…Nah. Let’s have a flashback instead.

Wait… Is it still a flashback if it occurs while you’re in the past and the events transpiring during it technically haven’t come to pass yet? I mean… it’s technically a flashback from Aya’s perspective by The Past depicted here is in the future from where Aya is… You know what? Time travel is stupid.

You take care.

Ah. So this is the Gabrielle friend of Aya’s that croaked prior to the start of the game. Hey, remember Gabriella the sassiest of dragons back in Drakengard 3? She was great. Man… I didn’t think I’d manage to miss any part of Drakengard 3. But here we are in the dregs of The 3rd Birthday…

Aya, they didn’t even look remotely the same and you’ve seen about fifty people die already. I know you look kind of like Cloud Strife with boobs and a tamed haircut, but get it together with the mental act.

What is the status of the injured survivor?
Umm… She doesn’t seem to be… Err… I couldn’t get her medical attention in time…?
Well… she probably died in the original timeline anyway. Don’t get too broken up about it.

I was a North American Fall Webworm in my past life. Those were the good old days... What were you in your former life?
…I am going to carry on wit—

See, Aya. Now this is relevant and like your dream. Now you can start getting weird about the surreal nature of things going down.

Aya rounds the corner and back into gameplay. However, the alien acne faced girl has vanished just like the ghost redhead. But don’t worry, Guillermo Lanier is on the case.

The end of the hallway gives way to a drop into the basement of the largest night club in the continental United States. Oh right, we started another chapter here. What’s our Feats this time?

Huh? Reapers? What exactly is a Reaper ?

New Music: Reaper

Oh right. That was the thing they mentioned in the tutorial and almost murdered the shit out of Aya before she bugged out at the end of that mission. It looks a bit less impressive in in-game form.

So, “Escape the Reaper”? Like for real this time? I mean, support guys, you told Aya to run the last time a major Twisted showed up and it was just an unavoidable boss battle. Are we running for re—

New Music: Screaming

…Ah. We’re running for real this time. Got it. Tune in next time when Aya tries that again and callously discards bodies in a meat grinder behind her to flee to safety makes a daring escape.

Video: Part 7 Highlight Reel

Sacrifice Club – I’ll admit the areas in this chapter are nicely detailed. Spoiler: That doesn’t last.