The Let's Play Archive

The 3rd Birthday

by The Dark Id

Part 26: Science is Never Wrong

We are jumping right into this time with the Episode 5 title card. I hope your tolerance for anime bullshit is high, as this chapter marks a sharp increase in its concentration within The 3rd Birthday’s churning chaotic maelstrom of a narrative.

Music: Dr. Maeda or How I Started Loving DNA

We rejoin Aya Brea a day later from the unfortunate events at North Shallows Tower. Sure, she got nuked. But she was also possessing some schlub named Zak Henrich and just peaced out right before the nuclear warhead hit. And frankly, anyone that shortens Zackary to a three letter Zak and not Zack, deserves to be immolated in nuclear hellfire.

So the Babels, the giant system of time-alien tree roots, that occasionally have bulbous glowing masses filled with time-space anomalies showing the potential of Aya’s clone sister existing, are actually an Overdive system. And in this case, they’re not meaning Aya’s ability to mind-jack people. They mean it in the time machine sense. Since that too is, technically, called an Overdive too…

I can't even believe in myself, let alone—
Listen to me Aya. You're here. You're real. If you're hurt, it's okay to cry.
And if your clothes get shredded off with your injuries? It’s f-fine! You don’t need them. In fact… they’re probably holding you b-back!
I mean it. Letting your emotions out will help heal your wounds. *wistful sigh*

Jesus Fucking H Christ! This guy! This fucking guy! This man is meant to be some kind of endearing dork. Someone at Square-Enix wrote him with that intent. Or he’s just Toriyama’s Parasite Eve fanfiction self-insert. It’s difficult to say at this point.

No, Aya! No. Wrong! Being playfully amused at Maeda speculating on how your tears taste is not the correct reaction. You’ve gone from showing no emotions to displaying all the wrong ones.

Regretting what you've lost will deny you of a future. Of course, to live also means to hurt Hehehe. And you will. Repeatedly. Hehehaah.
Your agonized shrieks as enemies cut into your flesh must sound most heavenly indeed. Heheheeeeh.
*chuckle and “oh you” expression*

A new enemy? Like a new species or something?
Yes, an intelligent species that can take the form of humans. I've dubbed them the High Ones. They're a new and powerful race.
So are they shapeshifting Twisted or…?
No. They’re new and completely different.
But I’ve fought people who have turned into Twisted. Gabrielle… The one from the concert whose name I’ve forgotten… Kyle just yesterday.
Indeed. Thelonious Cray as well.
Ergh… Yes. Absolutely. I fought him as a Twisted as well. That happened. That was an event that took place.
No, you didn’t.
Huh… I… Of course I did. I put it in my report before everything with CTI.
No, I mean you d-didn’t fight any Twisted. Those are all retroactively reclassified as High Ones.
Okay? …How did you come to this conclusion?
Don’t worry about it. Come have a look at this.

Maeda, how are you hacking government satellite feeds. I really don’t recall you being a hacker. I mean, beyond that being the generic superpower of all turbo-nerds in fiction, regardless of their field of study. I suppose the better question is how the hell you’re still getting an internet connection…

Also, I’d like you to take a look at the map of Manhattan here. I’m assuming that giant cyst looking thing a bit right of center in the frame is the Babel. That’s about lined up with the Williamsburg Bridge on the right there. Which places it… Hmm…

Looks like roughly the corner of Bowery and Delancey St, on top of New Museum. Now if you’ll remember the previous mission…

North Shallow Towers was supposedly on the corner of 3rd and 18th some near mile and a half north. Oh and the mission marker for the previous episode placed us roughly at the New York Stock Exchange a good mile further south.

Not that any of that completely fudged geography which took me all of five minutes of research to call out is of any importance, as once Maeda switches to the magic “Val_Cam” it is revealed that most of Lower Manhattan is actually engulfed by the Grand Babel, which towers higher than any skyscraper.

And from there we can Zoom… Zoom… ZOOM.

Maeda, we’re going to need you to Enhance here.


I’m sure this would be a shocking reveal for Aya, given Hyde Bohr has been AWOL for a couple months. In gameplay terms… the dude has been absent from the story for all of an hour. And he didn’t do anything even when he was around. But hey… Now he’s a High One! I hope you like hearing that new proper noun because the deal with the High Ones is the plot focus from here on out.

Music: A Piece of Remain – For The 3rd Birthday –

Alright. Welcome to the very final dicking around between missions session of The 3rd Birthday. Once more, Aya Brea finds herself trapped in the confines of Kunihiko Maeda’s serial killer bunker. Nothing at all has changed between episodes. Nobody new is hanging out due to 80% of the cast still being quite dead.

Maeda is still hanging in the corner by a prized collection of empty oil drums, washing machine boxes, and assorted splinter covered crates. And like before, he is just a font of exposition dumps attempting to salvage the burning wreckage of The 3rd Birthday’s plot. This time he has a whopping NINE topics of discussion with Aya. Grab a sandwich and get comfortable. We’re going to be here a bit…

Ask About > The Mission

New York has been overrun by the Twisted. The remaining troops are waiting at the Grand Babel, but...
But what?
Also… there were still soldiers left after the nuclear explosion and the Babel eruption…?
There are countless Twisted headed towards the Grand Babel. Our troops have lost even in advantageous situations. Merely making it to Hyde Bohr may be a feat.
I've made up my mind.
I-I wouldn't dream of stopping you. Th-this is my chance to examine you… a-and your abilities.

Hyde Bohr's waiting for you at the Grand Babel. This is it! Show us all what you can do, Aya. You have the chance to prove that humans are the superior race.

You know, this is the first time anyone has said Hyde’s last name aloud. I’d been pronouncing it in my head Boh-hur. Turns out it’s actually like the word “bore”. Somehow, that is much more fitting for the final baddie of The 3rd Birthday…

Ask about > Types of Twisted

…we're used to seeing. They have completely different roots and are an entirely different species.
And they're fighting each other? Is that what you're saying?
Correct. The Twisted that built the Babel and the High Ones that have the ability to transform into people are fighting for the right to survive.
Hyde Bohr—
So was Hyde always a High One or did he become one and was originally human or…?
B-Both possibilities are equally likely and indeed may both be true from certain perspectives in the time stream.

If the High Ones were cunning enough to have been controlling the CTI, the question becomes why he entered the Grand Babel. What is he after?
If the Babel's a giant Overdive system—
Then he's using it to go back to the past. Why? You'll need to ask him.

The Twisted, the High Ones, and the human race at war... Who could have predicted this?

It’s going to turn out there is no physiological difference between humans and High Ones. Hyde has just gotten baked enough to actually follow the plot of The 3rd Birthday.

Ask about > Hyde Bohr

Hyde Bohr has killed countless Twisted in mere seconds.
Really? Do you have footage of that? If I have to fight the chief too, that could prove usef—
I’m afraid not. You’ll just have to take my word on it.
L-Look, Aya. Hyde Bohr is more powerful than anyone you have faced. The s-science doesn’t lie.

The most powerful of them all?
Yes. And although they're at war with the Twisted, that doesn't mean they'll side with us.

There's no sign of Hyde Bohr using the Overdive system. I believe you have the upper hand here.

Translation: Hyde is almost definitely going to turn into a giant Tonberry or some shit by the time we catch up to him.

Ask about > The High Ones

…resemble humans, isn't that correct?
And every time, the world changed.
Those were the High Ones - a new race with incredible powers that even diminish those of the Twisted's Queen. They b-barely resemble the T-Twisted at all.
…Different Twisted don’t particular resemble each other to begin with. Are you sure about this? Are you sure they aren’t just giant mutated Twisted? What about the Helix from Club Sacrifice? Was that a High One too?
Did it speak to you as a human beforehand?
It slapped me with a tentacle.
Then no. That was not a High One.

Do they infect humans?
It looks that way. According to your story, Kyle and the others were taken over by the High Ones. They were - abducted.
What do you mean, “abducted”?
They just kind of turned into Twisted… Or High Ones. I’m not even sure what happened with Gabrielle. I wasn’t around before she changed. Where are you getting this data from, again?
People come in contact with something that eats away at their soul. They soon complete their transformation, but until then, it would be impossible to tell them apart from other humans.

The question now is: When were Kyle and the others taken over by the High Ones?

So since this High One business is confusing enough as it is, I’ll state that all this conjecture here is outright wrong. There is not some higher alien beings possessing people that Aya Brea all just happen to know. All of those characters became High Ones at some unknown point. They were not converted into ‘em by some third party possession. Except Madigan, who apparently did get possessed by The Twisted. Don’t ask me how that fits in. It never comes up again.

Ask about > The Babel

I compared the remains of the previous device with the Babel's structure. Although they differ in parts, the basics are the same. The one responsible for creating the CTI device is—
Hyde. But why would the Babel need to be so big?
An enormous amount of energy is required for them to go far into the past and remain there for some time. The size of the device required would be proportional to—
Alright, I get it. But why would the Twisted create such a thing?
Ergh… Uhh… I-Instinct, perhaps? After analyzing the DNA of the Twisted, I found evidence that they have the ability to travel back in time.
It is just they do not use it to any sort of effect. It is just… when you see one warping in to fight, they actually came from months… maybe years in the future. Just a little f-factoid. Hehe.
So basically, they're a mysterious life form, born in the far future, blindly trying to get to the past...
Heh. Hehehe. Yes, that's exactly it! Oh ho, Aya. You're far more intelligent than the others. Hehe.
…The others?
N-Never mind!

Anyone can access the Babel. You're the only one who can use it to travel back in time. Ohhhh… What I wouldn't give to see you dive into the past!
It looked exactly like when I Overdive now. I was just in a big metal coffin.
*sighs longingly* Delightful…

Ask about > The Emergence of the High Ones 1

…and found a few things linking the High Ones.
Well, Hyde Bohr, Kyle Madigan, Gabrielle Monsigny, and Emily Jefferson all interacted with each other. All of this happened before you lost your memory.

Wait… Wait. The chief, Kyle, and Gabrielle all knew each other…? When? How?!
I-I-I found an invitation to a New Year’s Eve party with all their names on it. The details beyond that are sketchy at b-best.

What's the story on Emily?
Who was that again…?
The first confirmed High One. I believe you e-encountered her at the Club Sacrifice incident.
Oh… Her. I forgot she even had a name. How is she related?

At one point, she and Eve went to the same school. But there are no records after that.
She and Eve went to school together?
Eve and Emily... Hehe. I wonder what their relationship was like.

Let’s not ponder that too much, Maeda. You’re in your mid-50s, guy. Get it together. Also yes, all of the important CTI members (except Blank), Kyle Madigan, and Eve’s college roommate all knew each other before the events of the game. Somehow. Because of course they did. You cannot have potent anime bullshit without there being long hidden relationships between characters in a mysterious past event. It’s just not done.

Ask about > Isabella

The Babel couldn't have had its own will. It's merely a device.
Cray called it Isabella. The Babel tried to take over both Cray and Eve.
I mean… It did. It totally, 100% did! That was an event that actually occurred. Cray transformed into a tentacled plant-like creature.
You mean like a Marlboro?
Yes. Exactly. That’s what happened.

According to the files, Isabella was born in 2003. She was the only daughter of Thelonious Cray. She died in a car accident in 2006.
Wait. She was in an accident? In 2006?
It's strange indeed. The Babel didn't exist back then.
But Cray believed that was his daughter. Something doesn't add up...
Perhaps the file is incorrect?
Or… He was just nuts? He did murder Captain Russo and steal his clothes. All he ever said around me was stuff related to training and fatalistic quotes about being a soldier…
Isabella died in 2006. I believe the date to be correct.

Notice: None of this will ever be relevant or mentioned again.

Ask about > The Emergence of The High Ones 2

I-I have no clue.
You're lying.
Scientists never state anything without evidence.
*narrows eyes* Is that a fact…?
*sweats* Un-Undoubtedly!

If you don't want to tell me, fine.
Aya, did you notice anything? When you were fighting the High Ones.
A memory.
A memory of Eve.
There is also this frozen blood ocean I appear in each time. That seems somewhat important…
Hmm. No. I don’t see the relevance. But Eve…

Ohhhh, how fascinating! When I acquire her... Uhh… I mean… when we find her, can I inquire more about it?
For reasons unknown, the High Ones had gotten ahold of Eve's memories. Fascinating indeed.

Ask about > Changing Time and Space

Of course. Heh. Hehehe. One day you came back to us with memories no one else has. But… to forget everything that happened between us is unfortunate.
But I didn't dive into the past. And still, things have changed.
Hm, that is odd. The Twisted are like a tsunami coming at us from the future. And the dam that was supposed the hold the water in place has been broken.
Or… Things have just happened naturally. A linear sequence of events. Are you certain the past has changed again…? Hmm… You could compare the datalogs to see…
Ugh… There’s too much to worry about and not enough time. Nobody actually reads those things, Maeda.
Oh… I-I see…

So Kyle and the others were the dam?
The waves erode time. My theory is flawless. Heh. Hehehe. So, uh, in your memories... heh… what was our relationship like? Hehehe. Heh.
Tch. Exactly like it is now.
The Twisted come from the future. The High Ones try to push them back. If the High Ones are destroyed, what will happen then?

I have no idea what Aya is talking about in that last exchange, because nothing changed after fighting Madigan. The timeline is still exactly the same other than updating with the events of the last day. Poor Aya has gotten so use to the monotonous formula of the opening of most new episodes of The 3rd Birthday that she’s just stuck in auto-pilot assuming things are still continuing as is.

Anyway, we’re now done with Maeda talk. That’s the last time we’ll have an info dump with a glassy eyed, barely animated NPC back at base. All of the very limited flavor text has updated between episodes. We’ll just go ahead and take another tour for our last time listening to Aya’s inner thoughts. Sadly, the sounds of her confirmation grunts and sighs will haunt my dreams for weeks to come.

I can't deal with provisions right now, and I don't particularly want to drink the night away with Maeda. Maeda eats so little, really - practically nothing.

I’m not sure I like the implication that Aya has just been on a bender with Maeda for the last couple of months and is only now getting her shit together to resume her search for Eve and a vague resolution to the time alien invasion.

If this place were attacked, would he grab this and run? It's covered with spider webs. Is this supposed to be some kind of camouflage?

I find it more likely Maeda would torch this entire bunker to hide the contents of those barrels.

He doesn't seem like much of a fish fancier. I don't think he cares much for living things.

Maeda just loves DNA. I mean it’s literally his theme music title. The condition of the source of said DNA is entirely a different matter… Hence the oil drums…

It really shouldn’t be this easy to make jokes about Maeda being a serial killer. I feel like if the audience could easy picture the awkward nerd support character raping and murdering women in his private time, that perhaps it’s time to rethink his portrayal…

No photos of Kyle, either. Why would there be photos? They don't even exist at this point.

I feel like The 3rd Birthday was trying to imply that the Boss Twisted High Ones destroyed in the game were literally wiped from the timeline completely. That is how events months before they were killed were somehow altered and nobody ever mentioned them at all in the following episodes like with Gabrielle’s time fragging. But they didn’t actually commit to that being the case, seeing as how Maeda and Aya have been discussing all of ‘em here. That will absolutely be made the case in one instance by the end though, so they didn’t completely abandon that idea.

Also, again. Aya, I would be incredibly worried if Maeda had photos of your sister, who he had never met. Especially, since by all accounts you didn’t have any contact with Maeda in the 17 years between Parasite Eve and now.

I did a bit of leveling up with Aya’s abilities. I am still getting nothing but garbage OE drops. I did get a couple new powers in Barrier, which potentially gives Aya a shield when she Overdives. And Impact Wave, which causes Aya to do an AOE shockwave attack when she enters Liberation mode. Neither are particularly useful. But ehh… The game is nearly complete and I’m not going to worry about it.

Let’s finish up our inner monologue tour by heading out from Maeda’s den…

This isn't the New York I know. I've put that loneliness behind me now. This will be my base as I enter the final battle.

In a better game, that might be foreshadowing that the base would be attacked while Aya was busy Overdiving and Maeda would have to do something to defend Aya. Nah. This is not the case. Maeda will just hang out as our radio support again and then drop off the face of the earth in relevance as we enter the final episode. The inner sanctum of Maeda’s House is fortified, after all.

Let’s head downstairs and finish our whirlwind tour of this depressing vista. Beginning with…

Well, at least the shower works. This might be the last shower I ever take.

God. DAMMIT, Aya.

What's the best weapon to use against a powerful opponent? I need to prepare thoughtfully. I can't have any regrets.

No, Aya Brea! Knock it off!

I don't think construction is Maeda's strong suit. If we run out of fuel, it's all over.

Trapped alone in a bunker deep underground with just Kunihiko Maeda for company sounds like a monstrously dark ending. Let’s hope for something better.

Welp. You knew it was coming. Our final trip to Toriyama’s Showers. Gaining air superiority by slaying 20+ Spitters during Aya’s brief helicopter rail shooter segment unlocks the final shower scene repeat on the Normal difficulty.

I’d just like to reiterate there is only the single shower scene FMV. Not a new one each time. Just the one. This is potentially the fifth time the player can see it in a single playthrough. I see now why Square-Enix still copyright claims this on YouTube.

As before, Aya has some thoughts following her shower and slide back into the same clothes she’s worn for coming up on a solid two months straight.

(Easy): This whole thing has been a setup - with me and the CTI little more than convenient tools.
(Normal): We’re still playing on the Normal difficulty and it’s still up above.
(Hard): Who did these hands attack? Am I guilty of some terrible crime?
(Deadly): All those Babels have merged into one. What could they be up to?
(Insane): Eternity, inside me? What exactly did you find, Kyle?

A way to escape from this game? Somehow, I feel like he’s going to fall short in that effort.

Speaking of which, the only way we can escape from The 3rd Birthday is to see it through to its conclusion. Tune in next time were we take command of the suspiciously normally named Kevin Moore and head into Operation Scarlet Snow. …Hey question, why are the coordinates even further south now than the last mission? We’re practically starting in Battery Park now! And who is still naming these operations?

This and more next time as the final proper episode, but not actually the final episode, of The 3rd Birthday begins…

Video: Part 26 Highlight Reel

Unused Costume Concepts – A kimono? A sexy pirate outfit? Look, maybe that shit would fly with those clowns over at Capcom or Tecmo, but here at Square-Enix we have standards, dammit!