The Let's Play Archive

The Chzo Mythos

by Quovak

Part 1: Five Days, Part 1: What "Gentleman" Means To Me

Five Days, Part 1: What "Gentleman" Means To Me

Some call me Trilby, and as a name it suffices. I've been called many things. A burglar, a hoodlum, a criminal...

For those not up on late-19th century fashion, a trilby hat is the type of pointed headwear that Yahtzee's avatar wears in his reviews. Wikipedia tells me that "the hat has been associated with jazz, ska and soul musicians, as well as members of the indie, rude boy, mod, skinhead and 2 Tone subcultures", which can presumably be disregarded. More important is the fact that out protagonist feels confident (and inconspicuous) driving in a balaclava.

5 Days received a lot of acclaim, most of it well-deserved, but there are a lot of cut corners. For example, this scene is a still image with no attempt made to illustrate movement, and the background music is ripped from RPG Maker 2000. The games use almost no ambient music until Notes, when a fan made a custom soundtrack for him. Once we get to that point, I'll begin posting music in the thread, but until then you can hum to yourselves if the silence becomes unbearable.

The lawyers have got the place locked up tight, of course, but that's never stopped me before. And the place is, of course, deserted. Yes, this should be a painless and rewarding evening's entertainment.

From the outside, the manor seems like, well, a manor. On the inside, it's basically, in Yahtzee's own words, a slightly larger-than-average suburban home. Of particular note is that the third floor/attic doesn't actually exist outside of this establishing shot.

Those icons in the bottom right are because I'm playing a special edition. Each of these games has a corresponding SE that used to cost money, but that was (presumably) changed once Yahtzee realized that people don't spend money on freeware adventure games. They're now available for free download on his website and contain commentary and some bonus scenes. Given that I've never sat down and had an in-depth discussion with the man, most of what I pretend to know about his thought process comes from his once-$5 liner notes.

According to said notes, these Day # screens are based off of those in The Shining.

These games have a lot of text. A very, very large amount of meaningless text. If people really want me to examine everything in these rooms, I will, but as long as people remain sensible I'll only post the actually interesting descriptions, like so:

In the lower left we can see one of the primary reasons why you're watching me play a free game instead of downloading it yourself. The interface for this game is incredibly clumsy and unstreamlined, with those icons being used to select an action and right clicking being used for the inventory. In the original release things were even worse, since you had to switch to walk mode to move (now you do so if you click on the ground no matter what icon is selected). Over the next few games, the interface ends up being completely redesigned, then redesigned again, then unredesigned because Yahtzee is a fickle man.

After breaking into a mansion for the express purpose of looking through it, Trilby decides it would be meaningless to... actually bother looking through the mansion. Maybe he wants to grapple up all of the windows as a way of reconnecting with his child-like playfulness, or maybe he just considers having an attention span to be ungentlemanly.

Well, I guess I'll have to take the old-fashioned way out.

The Chzo Mythos takes place in an alternate universe where glass is impossible to break. This ends up being the primary reason the game's plot takes place at all; if I were trapped in a house for five days I would consider moderate vandalism preferable to starving to death inside it.

Who the hell was that guy? I was under the impression this house was empty.

This man screams a bit before he runs off, but I'm trying to cut out useless text that could be reasonably inferred. Also, the reasoning behind that man's fear is explained in a completely different way in the later part of the series. Get used to that revelation strategy, as it becomes a constant theme.

Because we're playing a survival horror game, all the top floor rooms are locked. The last door is the only one you can open, and it leads to a bathroom that doesn't have any use except this subverted scare sequence. You can examine everything, but there aren't any particularly interesting observations that come about as a result.

It might seem like I'm making this disjointed, but the manor actually looks just like this. The top floor is a small green hallway with very few doors, and a staircase drops you off here. Because it's still a survival horror game, there's a newspaper here, which means we get to read files I get to transcribe files.

Sir Clarence DeFoe, last of the long-running DeFoe line, was found dead yesterday in his home. DeFoe, 24, was found hanging from a tree in the front yard of DeFoe Manor. His recent bride, Julia Swanson-DeFoe, was also found dead in the mansion, apparently stabbed to death. Inspector Jacob Barnes, the officer in charge of the investigation, has closed the case. "There's no mystery here," he said, "DeFoe killed his wife and then himself. We have already disproved the possibility of a third party." Sir Clarence's solicitor, Michael Cheasham, however, has gone on record questioning the inspector's judgment. "The last I saw Sir Clarence, he was infinitely content. He would never have committed such an act. Plus there was no suicide note".

It doesn't even have a keyhole. So why won't the bloody thing open? This is becoming very tiresome.

As we explore, we come across this painting. It becomes important once Yahtzee decides it should be, which, like everything else, happens in Trilby's Notes. Examining cabinets, etc will provoke responses that show Trilby has completely forgotten about the fact that he's supposed to be stealing things; even by the stealing-everything-that-isn't-nailed-down standard of adventure games he's pretty light on the actual theft part of thievery.

Except for cords, of course. A common mistake made by suburban house dwellers is to lock up precious gemstones and items of sentimental value but leave electrical wires just hanging around. It's almost like asking to be robbed.

News: In other news, the society world is still shaken by the sudden death of Sir Clarence DeFoe. Or correspondent Peter Daltry has the report. It was just four weeks ago that this place was a buzz of activity as Sir Clarence DeFoe moved in with his new bride, Julia Swanson-DeFoe. Now, after this shocking tragedy, the place is quiet as the tomb, and empty of human life. [More talk about possibility of murder-suicide that I cut out because it's redundant]

The news changes every day to reflect the growing amount of unease surrounding the house and emphasize the isolation of the characters. Despite my complaints about some of the justifications for it, this isolation element is actually handled rather well.

Where's the way out?
I'm sorry... I don't understand.
You are the guy who owns this place, right?
Er, no.
So how'd you get in here?
Er, a window on the second floor.
Is it still open?
No, it jammed shut.
Damn. Well, looks like the house has a new guest. I hope no more turn up. We've only got five chairs. If you'll excuse me, I've got work to do.
Who ARE you?
Oh, I beg your pardon. Harty's the name, Philip Harty. Call me Phil. And you are?
Trilby, I'm afraid you are now a prisoner. Like me, like everyone else in the house. Don't ask me why, but once you get in, the house won't let you leave. I've tried all the doors and windows, none of them open. The garden wall's unclimbable and I can't tunnel under it.
But why? Who's keeping us here?
Beats the hell out of me. Whoever it is, the will certainly not be safe from my fists once I get out of here. So if there's something you're not telling me, now would be a good time to get it off your chest.
I assure you I am completely mystified. So... how many more people are in this place?
Only three more. First, there's Jim, the youngest. He turned up just after I did. He's a good kid. Second, Simone Taylor. You probably know her off the telly, she's a correspondent for the BBC. She came here to make some kind of documentary, I think, but now she's stuck here with us. Lastly, there's AJ. Skinny bloke with a 'tache. Won't tell us who he is or where he came from. All I know is he's been here longer than anyone. Nearly a whole week.
I think I've already met him.
Oh, what a heartwarming story. Anyway, why don't you see if you can track them all down? I'm calling a house meeting in the lounge. Spread the word. I trust you'll enjoy your stay at DeFoe manor, Mr. Trilby.

Next time, we're off to search for the others and explore the rest of the mansion, which consists of literally two rooms. Finishing off Day 1, we'll start to actually see horror elements besides jamming windows. Eventually.