The Let's Play Archive

The 3rd Birthday

by The Dark Id

Part 22: Maeda's House

New Music: A Piece of Remain –For the 3rd Birthday-

Welp. I don’t know about you folks. But I already miss the safety of the CTI Headquarters. Welcome to our between mission hub for the remainder of The 3rd Birthday: Kunihiko Maeda’s off the grid serial killer loft hideout.

If you weren’t into Aya’s depressed flavor text tours from the CTI building, don’t worry. They’ve essentially thrown that in trash too. There’s still a wee bit left. But there’s not exactly a lot going on in this run down warehouse which Maeda… and I suppose Aya now… call home.

What is plentiful here is Dr. Maeda acting like a big fat exposition tourniquet on the bleeding wound that is this game’s narrative. A whole mess of nonsense occurred when they spliced together two script drafts with little cohesion, so they could just ship this damn game the time skip occurred. As such, just approaching Maeda’s vicinity enters Aya into a menu with six lengthy topics attempting to poorly stitch back together something resembling a narrative or any context on current events that they couldn’t be bothered to show us first hand.

Might as well get this mess out of the way. Alright, Maeda. Hit me with it and try not to make my skin crawl quite as much as your introduction cutscene…

Ask About > The Mission

Kyle Madigan has been spotted in the area. Y-you should go with them. Now's your chance to save Eve! The m-main goal is the destruction of the Babel, but the troops have already b-begun to lose manpower.
Any troops I can dive into?
The alpha team covering the flank is an option, b-but an enormous Twisted is in their path, and they're not in the best position. They're at a standstill.
Any other options?
T-there's an immobile tank that s-should be good enough to fire off a few rounds.
Maeda, I… don’t have training to operate a tank…
It’s fine. You’ll f-figure it out. Just point and shoot.
But even so… Isn’t there a whole crew of people that operate a tank?
N-No. These modern tanks are child’s play to operate. You’ll be fine.
…If you say so.

F-fire off a few rounds to create an entrance. By destroying the building, you'll be able to c-corner Kyle Madigan. A-and don't forget there's a nuclear attack planned in two hours.

So aside from our goal of saving Eve from her transient time-ghost state, apparently Madigan has taken a heel turn post-timeskip. There’s very early footage of the game’s first move to the PSP, where it seemed as though Madigan was intended to be the main villain and he showed up as early as Club Sacrifice (which was on fire and Madigan was doing a Sephiroth walking through flame routine.)

Ask About > The Present Day World

…but things don't seem to be getting any better.
I know. All I regained was Eve's memory.
Huh… This is all so fascinating. So much research, so little time.
It's all his doing.
That Kyle Madigan, correct?

There's one thing I know for sure. And that is that, Aya, you're the only one who can better the future.

Aya, you were clearly getting memories back by beating the Episode end bosses time-fragging the named characters. Kyle didn’t even show up in Episode 1. But hey, don’t let me stop your revised script.

Though speaking of scripts... Hey, The 3rd Birthday. I know Maeda stuttered occasionally in Parasite Eve. It was partly because he was a nervous dweeb dealing with some batshit crazy science. But mostly, it was due to the fact he was a Japanese Scientist. As in, English was his second language, and he kind of sucked at it, so he occasionally stammered his words. Just throwing that out there.

Ask About > Eve

Hmm… Eve's presence in itself is a time paradox. There was an incident that was supposed to determine her fate. However, it still hasn't been...
Resolved as of yet?
E-exactly. Her fate is still undecided. She exists and doesn't exist at the same time. Yet you're able to see her.
So someone's messing around with the past? I thought the device was destroyed.
It's possible that the CTI created another device that can handle the Overdive technology. O-or a-are trying to create one.
Another… device?
Infiltrate the North Shallows Tower and retrieve Eve. That's the only way you'll find out what happened to her - to Eve.

Sooo… Eve is the focal point of some unknown time paradox in the past, which has unstuck her from time and turned her into some weird time ghost. Which is somehow different from Madigan’s version of being a rogue Time Lord or whatever his deal is here. If you’re wondering how Maeda and Aya have reached this conclusion… you got me! Time travel itself has shifted from an active part of the current narrative to some anime bullshit background element. I didn’t say it was going away entirely.

Ask About > The Overdive Device

…I could e-examine you while you're diving.
Yes… Data when your consciousness has left your body… d-during the Overdive. It would be f-fascinating research material.
You sound as if you've had experience with it.
Yes, I previously snuck into the CTI building and got kicked out almost immediately.
You know how it is with government agencies. Always wanting to r-restraint the distance between a researcher and his… subjects.
But I discovered something amazing!
Can I have the condensed version?
The core of the device consisted of components from the Babel. Some kind of mysterious, unstable organism. Quite similar to the cells found in your body actually. It's a strange coincidence indeed.
Why would they use Babel components?

My next thesis will be about the Overdive device, the Babel, and of course, you. It-it won't be made public. It'll just be for me.
My private study. It will be… all mine to… review.

Gee, you think the dearly departed Boss Owen would have been more wary about Hyde having shoved Babel bits into the weird time travel machine than Aya herself. Then again, self-preservation skills were never his strong suit.

Ask About > Kyle

…and is now hiding out in the North Shallows Tower. However, there was something strange. When the Twisted attacked the CTI building, apparently, the security cameras caught him destroying the Overdive system.
The corpse of an employee was found in the main building of the CTI. The Twisted don't leave bodies. So what happened? No one knows. I smell a conspiracy. Someone erased your past. I knew it. It was done on purpose. Hmmhehe. Don't worry - we'll get your memory back.
Speaking of which, have y-you tried contacting Detective D-Dollis to help with the investigation? Hehe. Is he still active?
Oh… N-nevermind.

Who is Kyle Madigan? And why did he take Eve? It's quite a mystery. Hmm. I'm intrigued.

The 3rd Birthday doesn’t seem to be particularly consistent (I know, shocking) as to whether Madigan initiated the attack on the CTI Headquarters or if he just stepped in while the Twisted opened the attack. And how many people he murdered is a bit dubious. Besides Blank. Madigan definitely murdered Blank.

Oh yeah, by the way Madigan attacked CTI! That’s what that flashback was all about. Sorry, they couldn’t show us that, despite there being literally video evidence of the attack happening. You’ll just have to be satisfied with dodgy second-hand accounts and that 20 second flashback to the aftermath.

Ask About > Maeda

The second I heard about the Twisted. I-I'm always prepared to travel at the drop of a h-hat. You never know when r-research is going to c-call! Heh heheheehe. O-or maybe I sensed it.
Sensed what?
My princ…ess was in distress!

Heh. Hehe. O-oh, do you want to know more about me? Whahe. Unfortunately, I… I'm not a very interesting s-subject. Heh. I'm normal. Hehe. Average. Boring.

So is Maeda now referring to both the Brea sisters as “princess” amongst the stuttering and giddy chuckling? You know what…? I’m not going to press the issue.

ANYWAY, that’s all Maeda has for us in his font of exposition. If that wasn’t enough, don’t worry! The Counter-Twisted Investigation Team might be disbanded, but Kunihiko has backed up the Datalog database and has updated it accordingly for this brave, new timeline. As usual, that’ll be its own update. Spoiler: Turns out Thelonious Cray getting time-fragged and telling Madigan to go do something besides being a mysterious ghost man royally fucked up everything!

Apart from that, much like the CTI Building, Aya does have some flavor text from examining parts of Maeda’s hideout. But that content is way more Spartan this time around. But since I am giving this game far more effort than it deserves, I’ll go ahead and remain diligent with showing off what little is available. Let’s just circle the room clockwise from the entrance, shall we?

Maeda eats the same thing every day. He must have a high tolerance for tedium. Canned food and alcohol. That's no way to eat!

So Maeda apparently became an alcoholic in the past 17 years. That’s good. Great stuff. We’ll just lay on Maeda's couch and toss our consciousness across Manhattan, while the good doctor eats microwaved Beefaroni and gets shitfaced leering at us. That'll be just dandy.

The massive briefcase laptop next to the empty sake bottle and holy fucking shit, is that a used tissue? Oh gawd, that’s a used fucking crumpled up used tissue. Augh! Yeah, that’s the Datalog terminal now. Moving on… MOVING ON!

Someone should get rid of these barrels. Maeda says he needs all of this.

Boy, I sure don’t like the fact Maeda is evidently just stockpiling empty oil drums, which he claims are necessary, in his serial killer loft. Moving on!

Is this really just an ordinary fish? Maybe he's culturing something.

Look, maybe the man just has a pet fish. That’s fine. Now, if he had a hog pen to dispose of the bodies, then that would be eyebrow raising.

Aren’t there any old pictures of me? Every time I change the past, my memories become clearer.

Aya, please do not lament the fact Maeda lacks photos of you in your youth for his private collection. That’s fine. Don’t try to fix it.

The rest of Maeda’s desk is the new main terminal, where Aya can upgrade and begin the next mission. Since we finished Episode 3, a new DNA board has unlocked.

New DNA boards just mean we can start fresh building up new Over Energy nodes from scratch without erasing our old ones. There’s no functional difference between the DNA boards. I think the intent is to make certain ability builds as the game requires. Like stacking one board with abilities that benefit Liberation and another that benefits Overdiving frequently.

Of course, all of this would only be useful if we were going to do a New Game Plus. And, no fuckin’ thank you, Square-Enix. We’re done after this game’s credits roll.

Here’s Aya’s new set-up as of this new episode. I’ve actually had fairly rotten luck with my Over Energy node drops. About 60% of them have been boards that come with Rare OE alongside Malignant nodes. Malignant OE nodes’ negative effects can be mitigated by installing a normal node over the tumorous growth and re-rolling a bunch. But, it basically means erasing that node in the first place. I just don’t bother, because everything about this system is godawful.

Weapon load-out wise, I haven’t upgraded anything since last time, even though I’m sitting on a healthy amount of BP. So let’s just move onward. We’re finished with Dr. Maeda’s main loft. But there is some bits outside his lair’s inner sanctum. For instance, there is the chain-link fence overlooking the main floor.

It doesn't look anything like a shelter. This is the only place I have to come back to.

Yeah, this place does look like a complete shithole. One that is apparently fit to survive a nuclear strike… If you say so, doc. There’s no mention if this structure is some underground bunker or what, as we never see its exteriors and there are no windows to disturb Kunihiko’s intense… research.

We can take the stairs down to the lower level. Along the way, we see creepiest feature of Maede’s pad…

The shower room is totally exposed. I don't think Maeda's a Peeping Tom...

Yep. There’s a shower room. Of couse there’s a shower room. An open air one, at that. One that is, if we line up the map’s geography correct, almost EXACTLY above the Datalog terminal couch. You know… the one with that old tissue.

Aya… Wow. You are a tremendously bad judge of character. Moving. On.

On the ground floor, we have not much of note. The biggest landmark is a fenced off section separating the northern half of the warehouse’s floor.

You can just dive right in and brush up your skills. I'd like to get the test firing over with already.

Maeda apparently installed his own make-shift firing range, just like there was back at the CTI building. Actually, it just seems like he straight up jacked the thing from the old headquarters’ rubble, since it is exactly the same as it was back there.

This new shooting range even comes with an immortal Slacker for Aya to lay into testing her firearms. This is not, in fact, Augustus Vassel, the resident immortal Twisted CTI employee. This is an entirely new immortal man-turned Twisted confined to a nightmare existence of being locked in a dark hole when he is not being mercilessly shot by Aya Brea for sport.

But that’s a sad story for the datalogs. Let’s depart from the training grounds. I’d like you to take note that the proper title of this location is, in fact, Maeda’s House. Cozy. There’s a couple more stops down at ground level, before we conclude our tour.

Maybe Maeda managed to dig something up. He didn't convert this into a weapon, did he?

Psst. Aya. I think Maeda might just be squatting here, given the huge number of abandoned buildings thanks to the whole pan-dimensional creature invasion. He just hasn’t moved out all of unwanted relics.

Our last stop for Maeda’s House is, ugh… The shower room. Note: I said shower room. It’s not a bathroom. There is no toilet or sink. This cordoned off area only exists so Aya can bathe… We wouldn’t want to throw away that showering scene unlocking mechanic, now would we? A lot of effort went into rendering Aya naked in a shower, and dammit! They’re gonna use it!

My CTI agent suit. Maeda found it. Apparently it draws out an agent's natural agility.

Aya, that’s not any CTI issued uniform Maeda. That’s just a Stripper Santa outfit Maeda purchased. Literally, that alternate costume is unlocked in New Game Plus by recovering it from this locker in the second playthrough. Boy… “refreshing vulnerability” and all the creeper Protective Gear descriptions suddenly make so much more sense if we assume Maeda was the author…

Lastly, ugh… Well, the Feat where Aya prevented the Snatchers from spiriting away with any of the soldiers was the requirement to unlock the shower scene for this Episode.

That’s right, technically I had Aya Brea explode two men to gain a shower scene. Talk about an unintended goof. Christ, I would have chucked soldiers into the portal myself if I’d known that. Oh well! What’s done is done…

As with the previous shower scenes (and again, it is the same shower FMV), Aya has some musings once her wash is concluded and she puts the same dirty clothes right back on.

(Easy): Blank and the chief - both gone. The world changes and everything is taken from me, slowly but surely.
(Normal): It’s the text up above. The incorrect text up above. It’s been (less than) TWO months, since Christmas Eve, Aya. The opening of this episode was LITERALLY “Two months later—“ Good grief.
(Hard): Maeda just popped up out of nowhere one day. He's creepy as hell, but his intellect is the real deal.
(Deadly): I know Eve is scared and crying somewhere. I wish I could run right to her and bring her back.
(Insane): That dream, that memory I saw when I dove into Isabella - could that church be the key to this mystery?

Hard Mode Aya actually acknowledges Maeda is creepy as hell? A shame Aya never does that again. Maybe I ought to have bumped up the difficulty for this LP. Also, I thought Cray was just being a loon and we dove into him at the end of the previous chapter. That was supposed to actually be his daughter that… just happened to also be Eve? What?

Boy, somebody forgot to tell the flavor text writer they cut the Cray boss fight and shuffled around the plot. Whoopsie-daisy!

Another flub in the increasingly unraveling realm of The 3rd Birthday brings our tour of Maeda’s House to a close. Tune in next time, when Aya Brea hops into the body of UN Coalition Force’s unlucky expendable lottery winner of Corporal Marcus Ehmke as we begin Operation Blue Hail. What? Just because Aya can no longer dive into the past among mostly doomed men, you didn’t think our heroine was going to simply stop callously using unwitting troops as meat puppets to do her fighting, now did you?

That’s not how The 3rd Birthday rolls…

Video: Kunihiko Explains It All

Kunihiko Maeda – Dirge of Cerberus’ Professor Hojo is looking kinda rough after spending all that time trapped in the Internet.