The Let's Play Archive

The Chzo Mythos

by Quovak

Part 2: Five Days, Part 2: Paper-Thin Excuses

Added Eternal Darkness to OP, since it is a pretty big influence that he does explicitly mention. I think I'll cap the inevitably large list there, however.

Unsupervised Horse posted:

While Yahtzee may not post here anymore, he clearly still lurks.

That's pretty awesome. The credits sequences to the later games make reference to SA, and I've read Flashback, but I was under the impression he had completely abandoned the place.

Makrond posted:

I thought toxx clauses resulted in perma-bans

Well, I guess it's up to Ayatollah Slowbeef. Hopefully it won't come to that, however; I'm still putting faith in that moon.


Five Days, Part 2: Paper-Thin Excuses

Last time, we got trapped in a house, neglected to steal anything in said house (except some scrap copper), and heard a man lie about how many chairs there were in said house (There are five chairs in the dining room, the rocking chair, a chair in the office, and the couch. Yes, I'm pedantic). Today...

We learn about science.

We also get to see the Chekhov's Gun concept at its most literal. Trilby can't carry this gun around or set anywhere except back on the hearth. No foreshadowing here, no sir.

That painting is boring set dressing, but pay attention to it as the game goes on. Yahtzee "added scariness" while he fixed some of the glitches.

"So how did they eat" is this game's "How do you type with boxing gloves on". The commentary tries to justify this by saying that everyone in the house ate all the food before Trilby showed up, and he was too much of a gentleman to complain about it. The fact that the other characters also seem unfazed about going without food for five days sets up the later plot twist that they're all actually snakes.

It's too big to carry around with me. But if I ever need lethal quantities of salt, I'll know where to look.

There's no in-game explanation for why exactly there's a miniature salt mine in the Defoe kitchen. I'll assume that the Sir Clarence became one of those crazy rich eccentrics a la Howard Hughes, only instead of being germaphobic he became desperately afraid of goiter.

Pick up sticks.

Yahtzee claims to dislike overly relying on "Use X on Y" puzzles, and Five Days makes absolutely no attempt to hide how arbitrary most of its uses of that trope are.

Of course, he seems to have no problem with equally arbitrary event flags. Upon venturing upstairs, we now meet a woman who Yahtzee admits looks like a man in bad drag.

Oh, hello. Philip mentioned we had a new guest.
You're Simone Taylor, right?
Yes, you must have seen me on TV. And you are?
Got a first name?
Hey, wait a second! Not the cat burglar Trilby? I presented a Crimewatch special on you once. You wouldn't consent to an interview, would you?
Madame, even if I did have a sudden retarding brain injury that would cause me to do so, don't you think our apparent imprisonment is a slightly more urgent matter?
Well, I admit I thought so the first day I was here. But I've been here four days now, and I really think I'm learning a lot about this place. If I could just get these infernal doors open...
Philip's calling a house meeting in the lounge.
Yes, it's so like him to do that when a new face appears. I'll see you later, Mr. Trilby.

After his banter with Simone, Trilby gets to take out his blind rage on a tree, for no particular reason alluded to in the game. When you "use" the tree, this happens:

Oh, hi. You're new. Have you come to set us free?
No, apparently I'm a prisoner now, too. I'm guessing you must be Jim, what were you doing in the tree?
I thought I might be able to get over the wall, but the tree's too far, and there's this ravine just outside the wall, too.

The ravine was added in as a pseudo-justification for why Trilby can't just grapple over the walls. It's as weak and shoehorned a justification as it sounds.

(Not pictured: a ravine)

So I understand, yes. Philip wants us all to meet up in the lounge. [Boring re-iteration deleted]

This game is actively set up to encourage as much backtracking as is possible, and as a result it's incredibly linear. You have to talk to Simone before finding Jim, for example, which leads to a lot of aimlessly wandering around in search of the one thing you actually can do at a given point. It's about as fun as it sounds, hence why I'm ignoring the travel in screenshots (though, in fairness, I could have talked to Simone before going outside the first time to streamline things somewhat)

So, let me see if I've got this straight in my head. You're all trapped in this house by some invisible intelligence, and you can't leave. And as soon as I entered, I became trapped, too.
Pretty much.
Why? Why would anyone want to keep us prisoner here?
Maybe they're just lonely.
No, if they wanted company, they'd have shown themselves.
Maybe they have. Maybe one of us is behind all this.
Oh, don't be silly. Why would any of us want to trap a load of people here and pretend we didn't?
I don't know, do I! I don't speak loony.
We mustn't squabble amongst ourselves. Hampered by paranoia and suspicion we'd only hinder each other. I suggest we assume for now that we four are all innocent.
I agree with that.
We five, including AJ. Where is he, anyway?
I couldn't find him anywhere. I saw him just after I arrived, then he ran away from me.
Well, that's odd. Listen, Mr. Trilby, we work as a team in this house. That's how it's been since it started. So, we all have to share information. No secrets. So, why did you come to this house.
He's a cat burglar. Why do you even have to ask?
Well, I didn't come here to take part in some bizarre Big Brother event, that's for sure.
Is there anything you know about this house that would help? Anything at all?
I doubt I know much more than any of you. All I know is the last heir just died and it's supposed to be empty.
Hm. Well, guess you're not much of a help, then. But I suppose an extra pair of hands is always useful.
I'm still not completely clear on a few details. Do I get to ask you all some questions too, now?

The rest of the day is basically an exposition dump, and a perfect opportunity to show off the fact that I'm not transcribing excessive walls of text. Below are summarized versions of the three things you can ask everyone. If you don't feel like reading it all, the summarized summarized version is that the possibly-sentient house is letting people in one at a time, but apparently being pretty selective. Phil, also a thief, has an article about the house's equally strange past.

Simone summary:

What she knows: Weird things have been happening for decades, including disappearances. People have gone missing, for example, ever since the original father/son inhabitants died.
Why she's here: Old ghost stories have been popular recently, and the BBC felt a story on the events would pull in ratings. She wandered around by herself and was let inside, but her camera crew wasn't. Trilby reiterates that he hates TV.
Who she is: She mentions all the TV programs she works on and nothing else about her personality.

Phil Summary:

What he knows: He read an article about the family's unfortunate history, which he gives to Trilby. We'll read it next update.
Why he's here: He wanted to look for artifacts and "called in some favors" to get over the ravine and back wall, then got trapped. His partners won't get suspicious for months, though.
Who he is: He's in the "import-export" business and resents the title of thief. Trilby finds his cavalier yet self-righteous attitude toward stealing ungentlemanly (maybe because Phil actually steals things).

Jim Summary:

What he knows: The mansion was the subject of rumor and gossip among his schoolmates. There was talk of a killer who ate people alive.
Why he's here: Jim was dared to step inside for a pound. He does the admirable thing and gives in to peer pressure without hesitation, getting trapped. Nobody has come back to try to find him, as he lacks friends.
Who he is: He's sixteen and goes to boarding school. The end.

Anyone else see the pattern in these stories? Seems to me, the house only traps people individually. It didn't try to trap Jim's friends, or Simone's camera crew. It's only letting us in one at a time.
You're talking about the house like it's intelligent. Surely it's more likely that there's some joker behind all this.
But how did they know we were coming? How did it know to leave a window open for me, risking one of you finding it?
You think the house is haunted?
I wouldn't use THAT word, but I definitely have a very odd feeling.
Yeah, maybe this is one of Simone's rating winners. Locking up some people in a house against their will and secretly filming them, sounds like a natural reality TV progression.
It's also highly illegal.
Wouldn't stop some people.
Where the hell has AJ got to, anyway? I was hoping he'd be here. He's been doing some research on the house, and he was going to share it with us tonight. Maybe someone should go look for him.
What, now? It's getting pretty late.
I admit I am beginning to feel tired. I don't think there's any need to worry now. If he still hasn't turned up by morning, then we'll look for him.
Oh, alright. But we look for him as soon as we get up.

Sadly, stealing twigs and neglecting to look for allies is basically the high point of this group's efficacy. Starting next time: Longer updates. Also, I reiterate the "Yell at me if I'm doing things horribly wrong" request.