The Let's Play Archive

The 3rd Birthday

by The Dark Id

Part 17: Family Ties

Music: Joy to the World –For the 3rd Birthday-

And we’re back to 11:00 PM on December 24th. This is a really strange time to be having time travel combat operations, isn’t it? It’s not like there is any purpose behind it, beyond Parasite Eve beginning on Christmas Eve.

I don’t think I’d want to be stuck in a time loop during Christmas Eve. Hyper kids not wanting to go to bed? Shitty family members visiting? No thank you. Once a year is quite enough for me.

The door to Aya’s cell slides open, just like it did in the past two timelines…

Music: Dive Into Myself

The boss is gone. And the FBI branch. They're gone as well.

…Where is Cray?
Hm? I’m not sure. In the break room, perhaps? He might be standing by in the Overdive room. Why?
…Just checking.

Soooo… you know that scene where Boss Owen was acting all smug as Gabrielle was getting time-fragged and vanishing from existence? Yeah… That was the Hunter Owen’s final scene too. Apparently, Gabrielle being around was the catalyst preventing the entirety of the FBI, Boss included, from getting their shit pushed in.

Hunter “Boss” Owen?

RIP the biggest goddamn idiot in the game. Really. That’s it. He never shows up again outside of Datalog entries. Episode 2 resurrected two established dead characters only to re-kill them both by the end of the same chapter. The 3rd Birthday plays by its own baffling storytelling rules.

This way.
There's no need. But instead -

The first, Kyle Madigan.

The second, Eve Brea.
Brea? A relative of yours?

Aya walks out of the cell…

…Or possibly a clone? The details are still fuzzy…

Back in earlier, better video games.

Welcome to Episode 3 of The 3rd Birthday. If I am remembering correctly, this is the shortest episode of the game. Don’t get too excited. I recall one of the last couple of episodes to be way longer than what we’ve seen as well.

No good can come from red fog. Now purple fog, on the other hand? That can offer a good time.

Apparently in The 3rd Birthday’s timeline, grainy VHS footage was still the standard of the day even as far as 2012. I wonder how long it will take for VHS visual effects to finally phase fully out of depictions of media. It seems to be hard thing to let go for lazy cinematography.

Anyway, in this timeline it seems Blank has gotten into some real dark Twisted snuff film for his recreational jollies. I suppose it’s better than that Sonic OC erotic fanfiction that Hyde caught him browsing back in the first timeline.

Music: Investigation of the Past

Entire troops were annihilated and you're sending her!?

Tch. Everyone knows you can't control the fate of a soldier. They'll survive, if it's their will to survive.
Better intel with foreknowledge from the future? What’s that gonna change? Next you’re gonna tell me having special abilities that specifically devastate the enemy could change a soldier’s fate. Pfft.
Who knows? She might even be able to change that.
*pouts and sits in chair* We'll see about that.

Side note: As a former dumbass soldier for the better part of my life - Cray, you can fuck right off, you poorly written dipshit. Aside from the fatalistic outlook being just garbage that only hack writers think sounds appropriate, you’re in a time travel plot, you muppet!

According to my calculations, if they are correct, the core, the Mother - or what they call the Queen - has actually been awakened, sir.
I'm afraid this isn't good.

Off-screen, Cray kicks his desk and prepares for another angry tantrum. You might have thought Aya was gaining some initiative in that previous scene, what with taking an active role in investigating her past. But nah. She’s right back to being a passive wallflower. Also, she neglects to tell Cray to shut the fuck up because she literally just changed another operations where everyone was wiped out, including Cray himself. But, details…

Why don't you see that?

Cray kicks a desk before storming out of the Overdive room. Thanks for the vote of confidence, pal. Glad we warped time and space to resurrect you. You’re welcome, by the way.

I know I can do this.

Music: Wait for the Combustion

Another episode, another trip to CTI HQ. Err… first things first, perhaps we ought to fix Aya’s distressed appearance? Not that anyone comments on Aya’s more torn than usual jeans or the fact her jacket looks like a dog got a hold of it.

If we head over to the central computer, we can repair Aya’s sexy outfit Protective Gear of choice for a mere 300 BP. I’m sure the price goes up if Aya manages to make it to the second level of damaged clothing. But honestly, I just try to avoid interacting with that mechanic if at all possible. Plus, chapter breaks with their magical laptop terminals logged in to Aya’s personal tailor are close enough together. So hell if I know how much it costs.

While we’re already logged in to the computer, we may as well do our due diligence and sort out Aya’s weapon loadout and stats. As I said earlier, Episode 3 is a rather short section. The main mission only has two chapters. So we won’t get a lot of chances to gene splice and give Aya horrible malignant tumors.

From the fight with Twisted Gabrielle Monsigny, Aya picked up a rare OE board with the Rapid Link ability, which significantly speeds up the time Crossfire charges. Additionally, that board combined with a Cross Healing node to produce the Inferno ability. Inferno can be activated by tapping O during Liberation, which causes Aya’s host body to explode, damaging all enemies on the field. As if Aya’s complete disregard for Overdived allies’ lives wasn’t quite deplorable enough, we can now actively murder people by making them into magic suicide bombers. After the host is committed to a closed coffin funeral, Aya is given a couple seconds to find a new host.

It’s honestly kind of a crappy ability that can, at most, take out a bunch of Wads or Slackers. Anything heartier than that is a no-go. But hey, at least it’s something new.

I also upgraded the grenade launcher’s magazine size to hold 3 rounds and have one 3-round reload. At least that will make it a bit handier in a pinch until something better comes along. But enough about dull behind the scenes menu filing. Let’s chat up the folks on the support staff. That’s where the real action is!

The Delta Force troops that were lost in Operation Red Fog were led by Russo. They were the best, and Cray was once a part of that. First, dive into a National Guard and provide reinforcement.
Yes, sir. We're doing this without Cray?
He needs to take it easy. We'll navigate. This is an important job, Blank.
What's wrong?
Is it that... you're worried about losing Aya?
Oh, uh, sorry! Yeah, there is that... I just have this bad feeling I'll never see Cray again.
It’s just this weird feeling like we might get systematically whittled down as the plo—I mean… as our investigation continues.
*rubs chin* Aya feels that way every time she dives.
*slouch* That's so true! Why didn't I see that?

Well, I wasn’t thinking that was a possibility earlier. But now… *stares off into distance*

As to the Queen, a Twisted taking the shape of a little girl has been spotted.
Yes, sir. Understood.
(Wait for me, Eve. The three of us can be a family again.)

(The three of us?)
What? Did you remember something?
No, nothing.
*rubs chin* That's too bad. I'm doing my best and will continue to do my best to try to find your family.
Thank you.
About this man you mentioned earlier, Kyle Madigan, there were no hits in the CTI database. I'll broaden the search, but if it's an alias, it'll take quite a bit of time to find out who he is.
As for your records, I found nothing about an Eve Brea. There was a Maya Brea. She had the same birth date as you. It says she died in a car crash when she was six years old. She’s listed as an organ donor. Is this sparking any memories?
No. …I think I would remember if I had a twin sister.

Alright, that’s Hyde chatted up. Let’s see how Blank is doing. Remember that previous timeline when you two got gassed and possibly died? That was kooky.

I mean, you've heard of Operation Red Fog, haven't you?
Isn't that the mission where Cray's former unit was lost?
I'll be honest, I've only kind of been skimming those timeline datalog entries.
Yeah, I hope I didn't bum him out.
Why is this mission so important?
This Babel here, in Grand Central, is the problem. It looks like it's the main focal point of all the other Babels. They're connected to this one underground. There are a lot of unanswered questions about Operation Red Fog. I checked the military network, but there are no records. I suppose there shouldn't be, because there were no survivors...
Shouldn't there be records of the aftermath?

Ah- I think you're on to something. I mean, you're right... It could be just that the military's trying to hide something.
Or just completely incompetent. I mean… they’re still recording operation footage with mini-VHS tapes. I think there’s somewhere in the Geneva Convention stating that’s a war crime…
I don't know, but we have to do this.
Yep. This is the core of all of the Babels. If the other Babels are terminals, this is the main server. So destroy this one and Manhattan should be back to normal in no time, I hope.
Or we’ll trigger some massive chain reaction that rips the island asunder. Well… moreso. Anyway, it’s our best shot!

I know I said something hurtful to Cray, but if we can change the past, I think he'll understand.
Yes that would really be something. Changing the past.
I’m sure you’ll be able to manage it this dive.

And that’s it for our chats with the support staff. Gabrielle and Owen are both dead. And Cray actually took his ball and went home. He’s nowhere to be found in the CTI building. So, all that remains before we begin the next mission is to get an update on Aya’s flavor text around the office.

Inspect > The mini-fridge
I was told I could help myself, but... when was this last opened? I wonder what this runs on. ...What's that smell?

The only impacts of this timeline is Gabrielle and the FBI Branch dying and the upkeep of the fridge being subpar. Butterfly effect at work, folks.

Inspect > Notice Board next to desks
2. “Smoking is prohibited.” It's a list of everything we can't do here at the CTI. “Notice: Submitting personal requests for Agent Brea to change the past is prohibited.”

“Aya, you’re jumping into last Wednesday, right? Look, just grab a cellphone and tell my past self to go with Thai instead of Mexican. I was glued to the toilet that Thursday morning, let me tell you.”

Inspect > Behind the computer consoles
Cray wasn't himself today. Cray's so desperate, he's losing his mind. Could he be hiding the truth about Operation Red Fog? Does... does Cray know something?

Does Cray know he was dead in the previous timeline? I mean, we only altered three days this time around… probably. And he did identify Aya as diving into the past during that period. But apparently time travel rules here say everything just gets reset and we’re in a new timeline with nobody remembering because writing around time paradoxes is too much work.

Inspect > Railing facing the computer consoles
I don't want to be responsible for anyone's death. I have a different person to protect every time I dive. Will I ever reach that proverbial “perfect world”? Gabrielle... I wish I could see you again. Boss... rest in peace.

One: Probably not until the final chapter, if ever. Two: Boss tried to kill you, don’t be going RIP! Fuck that guy!

Inspect > Railing facing the stairs
I want the memories of my family back. That's all I ask - really. What happened to Eve? I'd like to see her. Eve's waiting for me. I just know she is.

Inspect > Railing facing the wall
I'm sure Cray will come back, too. After all, you can't run from your past. Everyone is looking out for me. That helps put my mind at ease, I admit. I'll be fine. The chief and Blank have my back. Once I change the world, I'll come right back here.

Except this is a time travel storyline so inevitably the means to time travel will be lost and you’ll have to live with the consequences of your alteration of history. But I’m sure that won’t happen in this, a fully original take on the plot conceit.

Inspect > Overdive Device’s right side
I'm lonely without Cray around, but I can see how some people prefer to forget the past. What was Cray's friend like? Will I be able to save him? “Operation Red Fog” ...there were no survivors. Am I really allowed to change history? I can't believe the entire Delta Force was destroyed. I'll have to see how it all went down.

Wait, I thought Hyde said we were jumping into National Guard again. All of these organizations are not interchangeable like that, game! Delta Force is a wee bit different thing. Especially in Japanese game plots, where you can be a female veteran of Delta Force at age 23.

Inspect > Overdive Device front
I change the world, but no one notices. This must be what God feels like. Who is this Kyle Madigan, anyway? I'll happily dive into the past if I can get my memories back. Any memory will do. I sense my Overdive power's grown stronger. Just how far into the past can I go?

Probably the year 2010.

The datalog timeline only goes that far back and of course there is a 100% chance we’ll eventually go back and discover the events that lead to Aya’s amnesia and whatever the hell was going down in that wedding. I mean it’s just a foregone conclusion.

Inspect > Overdive Device left side
When I close my eyes, it's like I'm falling into a deep sleep. I'm definitely comfortable by myself - just lonely. They monitor all kinds of physical stats. My whole life is numbers. The device is my lifeline - I have to treat it right. These precious ties want to connect to someone. If I change the past, will I wake up somewhere else? And will I be alone then, too?

Inspect > Overdive Device back side
I got my memories of Eve back, but what could I be losing when I dive? What's waiting for me at the Babel in the red fog? I dive to learn the truth. If I dive into the past, can I see Eve? Why do I keep coming back to Christmas Eve? What is it about that day?

It’s probably the day of that wedding we are inevitably going to end the story revealing. What kind of idiots gets married on Christmas Eve is the bigger mystery.

Well, that’s it for the Overdive room. Let’s take a quick tour of the rest of the facility. Starting with the Weapons Locker Room.

We no longer have the teleporting Gabrielle following us around. Nor is Cray hanging out with his funky music. Just the overly ominous default CTI tunes linger in the air. Oh well, let’s see how the Soft Drink Brand soda machine is hanging.

Inspect > SOFT DRINK
I see some scuff marks here. Looks like it's been kicked. Blank must be buying up all the stock.

SOFT DRINK brand is really dedicated to still be making deliveries to Manhattan a good year out from it becoming a monster infested hellscape.

Inspect > Recycling Bin
They're throwing them away in a different spot this time. The CTI can be pretty casual outside of the actual work. Did the cleaning crew stop coming by?

The janitorial staff of Manhattan, however? No work ethic. Zero. Buncha losers. Sad!

Inspect > Fire extinguisher
We need to be prepared if a fire breaks out. The CTI isn't immune to terrorist attacks. A fire extinguisher won't fend off a Twisted, though.

A second plane has hit the Babel.

Inspect > Magazine on bench
“Weapons Monthly, Special Premiere Issue: The HMS Exeter.” “’Our Tomorrows', by Yoichi W.” “Bonus Section: Anti-Twisted Bracelets.”

If I’m remembering correctly, the HMS Exeter was blown up to ward off a Twisted infestation in the previous timeline, taking the place of Air Force One and the President eating it. I… could have sworn we only went back in time three days…

Inspect > Notice Board
“Marksmanship Tournament.” But Gabrielle's gone.
“Marksmanship Exam.” The top performer is someone I don't know. Gabrielle's reign is over forever.

Inspect > Bench
I used to sit here and wait when it got crowded... right? There've been times when I've fallen and just couldn't get myself back up again. There isn't even anyone taking a break.

Inspect > Weapon locker counter
It's always so chilly in here. Everyone from the training grounds is fighting in the war now. Please let them come back alive. I need to focus on the mission and nothing else. I want to be stronger - so I can get my family back.

Well, that was all very insightful. We’ll once again just refrain from training against our undead slave mutant co-worker for sport. That’s still really messed up, CTI. Let’s head to the Locker Room next.

Music: Angel’s Time

As before, we’ll snoop in the Men’s Room before heading over to the Women’s lockers.

Inspect > Men’s room notice
“Physical Ability Exam.” Cray's the best by far. Amazing! It looks like people are writing their wishes here. Mine is... “I wish I could see Eve.”

Reminder if you haven’t played Parasite Eve 2: Eve had like two lines in that entire game. She was mostly a mute psychic weird kid that looked like a tween Aya.

Inspect > Newspaper on bench
“US Destroyed Within Four Years.” All sheer conjecture, of course. “NY State Casualties Top One Million.” As the past changes, the body count drops.

All sheer conjecture, of course.

Inspect > Movie poster
A poster of an actress. This might have been from just before she hit the big time. A horror movie poster. The movie's not out anymore. Turns out real life is much scarier.

Ugh… Whatever, Aya. Let’s go scope out the other locker room…

Inspect > Newspaper on bench
“Atlantic Destroyers Battling Twisted.” I haven't seen this article before. I'd like to believe the world's better now.

A big naval battle against the Twisted sounds like it would be a cool set piece. Anyway, let’s gear up for the grey corridors and tunnels beneath Grand Central Station.

Inspect > Cracked open locker
Why was this left open? Start asking questions like that I'll never stop. Did this belong to someone killed in action?

Aya just close the goddamn locker. You’ve been having a near nervous breakdown about it for three episodes now. There's worst that will happen is someone will need to put in their code to unlock it again. Sheesh!

Inspect > Another open locker
A photo. Someone's family, maybe? A family portrait. I can't help but feel jealous.

Ugh. Those normies with their siblings that aren’t clone Force Ghosts or non-Time Lord fiancés. It’s such bullshit.

Inspect > Notice
“Company Physical Forms.” Some of these people are long gone. “Health Management is an Agent's duty.”

Good stuff. Of course, before we depart, we do have another trip into the shower room. Oh boy, oh boy.

Inspect > Towel hamper
The towels are surprisingly soft. The CTI's only kindness. We're starting to have shortages. Better use these things judiciously.

Inspect > Mirror
I tense up at the smallest things. I guess that's what all these Overdives do to a person. Eve and I look so much alike.

Funny how clones can turn out looking so similar.

Inspect > Recently used shower
It takes a while for the water to get hot. There's a trick to adjusting the temperature, too. I could use a nice long bath one of these days. Maybe toss in some
fancy-smelling bath salts... Are they watching me here, too? They still can't read my mind, though.

Nobody will ever know Aya Brea’s deepest desire to get fucked up on bath salts and go on a rampage through the CTI building.

So hey, remember that near impossible due to crummy weaponry Feat against the Rover early in Episode 2? Turns out that was the trigger to activate Episode 3’s shower scene FMV. The same exact shower scene. They didn’t make multiple. Shucks. But, via the power of looking stuff up and editing in the results, I can just share Aya’s post-shower thoughts, had we gone the distance to unlock a repeated fan service scene.

(Easy): Gabrielle was always so kind. Then I went and caused her death - not once, but twice.
(Normal): Who is this Kyle Madigan? He seemed to know about my past.
(Hard): I'll get Eve back - no two ways about it. But that man said she was dead...
(Deadly): When I dove into Gabrielle, I saw more of my memories. Was that... a dream?
(Insane): Eve appeared inside the Babel in the red fog. I won’t let Kyle Madigan have her.

And that’s all for our trip to the ill-kept locker rooms. Last but… no pretty much least, we have a trip up to the roof to get some fresh air.

Music: Memory II –For the 3rd Birthday-

At least this time around it’s around 2:00 PM and it being broad daylight makes sense. With no Gabrielle following us around, there’s precious little to do up here beyond admiring the skybox.

Inspect > The horizon
The Babel keeps growing. This is definitely not a view for the guidebooks. It's like some giant organism. Is the Babel trying to reach heaven? I get the feeling the Twisted are continuing to evolve. What other secrets can the Babel hold?

Well, it did have that pocket dimension with scores of people infinitely falling and the Twisted Queen eating them. That was a thing… You… didn’t report that in to anyone, did you? Goddammit, Aya.

Inspect > The cityscape
It's hard to believe all these Babels are connected underground. Is it trying to turn all of New York into one big nest? What was Eve doing inside the Babel?

Inspect > Staff Only sign
The eternally cloudy winter sky... I can change the world, but not the seasons. I bet I can sneak in from here. Why is there no heliport?

Look, the last time we saw someone on a helicopter, they turned into a gigantic wasp monster. Ergo, this is now a no-fly zone.

Inspect > Ventilation shafts
Movement means someone else managed to survive. This place hasn't changed a bit. I swore I wasn't going to cry today...

Ugh. Alright. That’s enough flavor text out of you for today, Aya.

Tune in next time when we jump into the Delta Force member Sergeant Bobby Ellsworth in Grand Central Station and commence our dive into Operation Red Fog. Let’s try to keep team killing to a minimum, Aya. They're threatening to kick you from the server if you keep this up.

Video: Part 17 Highlight Reel

Aya Render – Aya, two things here. One: that’s an extremely uncomfortable looking goofy sexy pose. Two: You have a sad, flat white ass. What are you even playing at? Knock it off and go pay the 300 BP to get yourself fixed up.