The Let's Play Archive

The 3rd Birthday

by The Dark Id

Part 14: HR Complaints

Previously on The 3rd Birthday, we managed to rescue Cray by… just sort of propping him up on some rubble. Mission accomplished! However, now Gabrielle has vanished and Boss Owen is taking over as Aya’s support, after the rest of the CTI gang ran off to do something or other. I’m sure it’s all perfectly normal.

Despite the previous scene being Cray and Aya’s newest possession victim alone in an alley, an entire SWAT team has warped onto the scene between cuts. We’ll get to them in a second. First, the Boss has a bit to share…

Music: Crossing Time, Crossing Mind

[…head to the abandoned building up ahead. Hyde and the others are currently looking for Monsigny's signal. The terminal in this room can't help us.]
Isn’t Gabrielle there? Can’t you ask her where her helicopter landed during this operation?
[Tch. She’s off doing whatever nonsense you women do in the bathroom all day long.]

[Just dive or whatever it is you do.]

Good stuff. Let’s see how the 20th or so SWAT team we’ve encountered is holding up. I wonder how many SWAT teams there are total in Manhattan. I feel like we’re close to passing the total combined number during this silly mission.

...Uh-huh. Our training didn't prepare me for this. I think I might wet myself.
Aw, don't worry about it. I pissed my pants ages ago.

Run around enough and it'll dry before you know it.

Note: Aya must be jumping into the body of the pants pisser Captain Perkins to trigger this conversation. …Terrific.

Cray has nothing further to say after his cutscene chat with Aya. They aren’t paying him enough to make idle banter during gameplay. Our former primary objective is just content in leaning against a pile of trash until this episode concludes. Yep. That was all there was to saving him from death: Dragging him five feet and propping him up against a pile of garbage. Job well done, Aya! We’ll not be seeing him again this chapter.

Before we head onward into the final stretch of this episode of The 3rd Birthday, let’s log-in to the future and update or profile. Defeating the Queen of Spanish Harlem unlocked the first Launcher type weapon. I decided to swap out the magnum for the TAG-MC1, just to mix things up.

The SWAT rifle also had its Impact upgrades maxed out, which will prove a nice boon in the upcoming sections. I didn’t mess with any of Aya’s gene splicing here, since we’ll be hitting the final safe room area after the next couple of sections and there’s not a lot that could be improved right now.

With our inventory management sorted out, Aya is free to continue with her mission and begin the third and final chapter of Episode 2.

Music: Arise Within You –for The 3rd Birthday-

There are only two Feats present for the final chapter of Operation Black Storm. Both of them are fairly easy Rank 1 objectives that just require that Aya be diligent with clearing the areas.

The first area of the indistinguishable from the ruins of City 17 wreckage of Spanish Harlem is host to more poison gas farting Stinkers with support Beans and Slackers roaming the area. There’s a good amount of reinforcements of silly named men to help clear the area.

Especially, Corporal Maddock with the most on the nose comment about Beans.

There is little to be said about the battle, other than it is real annoying when Stinkers spawn right above Aya and her auto-aim can target them, but the camera can only pull back about 70 degrees. So there’s no way to know if the shots are actually connecting or if it spawned three stories up and could only be hit by a sniper rifle. Good design, that. Thankfully, we’re just about done with Stinkers for the rest of the game.

After zig-zagging down several alleyways that stretch about two blocks of Manhattan real estate, we eventually reach the abandoned building Owen mentioned. One would think all of the buildings in Manhattan ought to be abandoned. Or the rest of the five boroughs, for that matter. Except maybe Staten Island. It made sense there would be idiots still living there like the Timeline said.

[No, go left. Sorry, I'm not used to this gadget]

Actually, Boss, we’re turning right around and retuning to the area we just left.

That’s because the area immediately became infested with a new wave of Stinkers as soon as we left. They also evidentially gassed the SWAT units we left behind to death, as all traces of humans in the area have vanished in the twenty seconds we’d been away. Oh well. We cannot be expected to babysit everyone in this district.

Aya needs to backtrack and retire all the Stinkers in this area once again if we want to finish that first Feat on the menu. It’s a shame nobody thought to bring the Satellite Cannon target painter from the next block over. It might have made things easier.

Once that side job is taken care of, Aya can return to following Boss’ instructions down literally the only route available because this is a linear shooter and every other path is blocked by rubble. But thanks for the updates, Owen. You’re a big help.

The secondary Feat of this chapter said something about “Swiftly breaching the orb nest”. What that really meant was “Look at the map. You see a dead ends? There’s an Orb there. Destroy them.” There are two optional Orbs on the way through the area (there is a third one but it’s mandatory to destroy.) Taking out all three gives Aya an easy payday.

As Aya fights her way through the abandoned building, Gabrielle chimes in a couple times randomly…

[A girl?!]
[That’s her… I’m sure of it.]

Neither Aya nor Owen have anything to say in response like, I don’t know, asking where the hell Gabby has wandered off to, clarify what she’s seeing, or asking if she’s in any trouble. Again, it has been established that Aya can directly contact past Gabrielle over the SWAT’s radio. Cannot let that consistency in either gameplay or narrative timer tick past fifteen minutes.

While we’re fighting the Twisted, Boss Owen will also chime in as passive-aggressively as possible occasionally. Aya just silently takes it because of course she does. I’ve condensed all of Boss’ chatter below.

[We're supposed to believe that what you're seeing right now in that machine is really the past?]
[Your backup's arrived. Now's a good time to show your true colors.]
[I'm detecting enemies above you. Are you helpless without having someone order you around?]
[You better prove you're not wasting the nation's budget. Go change the past... if you can.]
[Huh, there's a lot of them. Hmph. It's your job to get rid of them.]

Again, this is all said while he is literally watching a video feed of a combat operation that happened just a few days ago and Aya doing her business. The Boss is a remarkably pig headed in the stupidest way.

The fight eventually takes Aya to the roof of the building, where a new swarm of Stinkers have allied with Beans taking the high ground to gas and bomb the roof at once. Despite all the cover on the roof, it’s best just to hang back and methodically deal with the Stinkers before focusing on the Beans from afar. Mostly because a second wave of Stinkers instantly spawn in after the first Bean is killed and gas the entire front area of the room with zero warning. Kind of a dick move, game!

If Aya has doubled back earlier like I said, slaying the last Stinker up on the rooftop will earn her the fog clearing Feat. We’ve also fully committed full xenocide on the Stinkers. That’s it! They’re all dead! We never see that enemy type for the rest of the game. Okay, they might spawn in during the next boss battle. But as far as the gas shitting ones go, they’re done for good.

After the roof is sorted out, Aya has a silly time rolling around the rafters beneath the building and sniping Twisted down below and taking out the final Orb of the area, completing the requirements for the second Feat of the chapter. All in a day’s work. Bu-Gil Becker was on the case.

Once the area is clear, the Twisted bramble patch collapses around the building’s exit. As Aya approaches, Gabby chimes in one last time…

Music: Ruin

[Don't co—]

…py that floppy? C’mon Gabrielle. It’s 2013, not 1993.

Aya exits the building and finds herself at another SWAT hangout safe zone…

[He says he's found Monsigny. According to his message, she should be up ahead. You'd, uh, better hurry.]

Well, that’s a relief. Weird that Hyde has decided to go radio silent while working out this position. I thought that was Blank’s job… Anyway, let’s see how the troops are hanging.

I'm gonna live like there's no tomorrow.
Sure wish that cartoon superhero of yours were here.
Oh, he'll definitely show up if we're in a pinch.
Maybe you didn't notice, but we've been in one big-ass pinch for a while now.
We have?

Superheroes show up at the very last second. Hang in there... it won't be long now.

What a disappointment to have The 3rd Birthday’s Aya Brea show up as your comic book hero. Here she comes to save the day, as she leaps into your friend’s body, dumps all of his ammo with zero tactical thought into a swarm of monsters, psychic headbutts a monster but gets stunned in doing so, accidentally gets your friend’s head blown off by an retaliatory energy blast, then takes over your body and dashes off into the night, until it’s deemed disposable and you die a violent death too. You’d have better chances if The Punisher showed up.

While we are here, I spliced some genes and built up Restock and Cross-Healing. Both are fairly useful in general, especially for the fight up ahead. You didn’t think we’d get out of a chapter without a boss fight, did you?

Not that I have used it much, but Aya’s grenade launcher also got an upgrade with some more ammo and stopping power. It probably won’t get an upgrade again for a while (or I’ll dump it) as Aya’s Launcher skill levels up incredibly slowly, given there’s 4 shots max and a huge reload time with a very situational weapon.

Now that we’re fully updated with our stock and ready to go, Aya can continue towards the direction Boss has indicated is where Gabby has mysteriously run off towards. Ted Lilly will be Aya’s host, because he’s the only one of these chucklefucks that don’t sound like a NPC from an Elder Scrolls game.

Seems it has only been around an hour and change since this mission began. Which isn’t that far off the mark from real time. If nothing, I kind of like that plot time is semi-consistent with the real world gameplay time on these missions and not magically three hours later between loading screens.

Aya looks around to find a vacant lot…

[This should be it.]

Meanwhile, back at CTI a gas grenade of unknown contents has filled the room.

The rest of the CTI support team are all knocked unconscious. It’s a rough Christmas Day morning back at headquarters.

Except for Boss Hunter. He’s having a pretty good time.

Hehehe. Goodbye, Aya Brea.


The camera swirls around Aya like "this shit just got real" in Bad Boys II’s Ending 2 of 5.


Welp. That happened. Let’s just stop and think about this for a moment. So, The Boss hates overseeing CTI because… he just wants an easy desk job in Washington and having to stay in Manhattan with a bunch of nerds doing science bullshit sucks. So, to get out of his position, he has gassed his own subordinates and directed the resident time traveler into presumably a death trap. What is the end goal here, Boss?

In the best case scenario for Owen, Aya Brea dies in the past, which kills her in the present. Everyone wakes up and goes what the actual fuck. There is video evidence of Hunter Owen directing Aya to her death because they’ve established they record all of these Overdive sessions… somehow. Forgetting that he helped murder a subordinate, he’s committed an attack on a federal building against several active agents and last I checked that was treason. Hunter Owen goes to prison.

I’ll go ahead and say that Boss does not have some ulterior motive nor is he somehow secretly working with The Twisted. There's also no tragic backstory where it turns out his wife was killed by Twisted or an irresponsible time traveler. He is just an asshole that hates his job at CTI and wants to go back to being a lazy desk jockey in Washington, while an apocalyptic event is occurring outside and doomsday super computers have determined the entire country will be wiped out within two four years.

Hunter “Boss” Owen is the biggest fucking idiot in this game. Full stop. And it actually gets a bit stupider.

In any case, Aya finds herself in a huge open lot down by the river. An armored truck with a heavy machinegun has materialized following the cutscene. Weird.

Our heroine wanders around aimlessly for a bit. She’s probably wondering why Boss doesn’t just shoot her while she’s sitting helplessly in a machine five feet away. While we’re at it, it’s not like the Overdive Machine (I’m not calling it Aya too, that’s stupid) is sealed air tight. Shouldn’t Aya be affected by the gas pumped into the room? Good grief. No part of this makes sense or holds up to the slightest scrutiny. It’s sort of amazing.

Oh yes, and there’s an increasingly loud buzzing in the distance. That’s probably worth mentioning. Its source, you ask? Well that’s simple.

It’s the crazy nightmare wasp nest boss of Chapter 2. What else would it be? Tune in next time when Aya battles whatever in the flying hell this next visual mess of a Twisted is supposed to be. Also, maybe we’ll find out what happened to Gabrielle. Oh and of course, healthy amounts of anime bullshit. Should be fun!

Video: Part 14 Highlight Reel

Owen “Boss” Hunter – Mad his cushy gig at Shinra Incorporated never worked out.