The Let's Play Archive

The Chzo Mythos

by Quovak

Part 14: 7 Days, Part 5: Tryst By My Crypt

Seven Days, Part 5: Tryst By My Crypt

Last update, there was a perfectly reasonable discussion about how I couldn't possibly have been killing people. This update starts with Angela accusing me of killing people, because that's logical, I guess.

You seem to have been closely involved in the discovery of both bodies. I appreciate the link is flimsy; this is more of a precaution until the proper investigators arrive.
You can't imprison people without cause!
You are the prime suspect in the killings. Admittedly, not on much evidence, but you are nonetheless. I have acted entirely logically.

Hey, remember how we specifically assigned you the task of being the sole person to try finding bodies? You're under arrest for being the one who found the bodies.

I'm afraid, as counselor, I must relieve you from duty. Regulations empower me to do so in the event of a mental breakdown in the commanding officer.
I am aware of the code, doctor. However, code 980 gives me the power to hold suspicious individuals for up to seven days in the event of serious crime on board ship, and code 1701 does not apply when the counselor him or herself is under investigation.

This is sensible, though given past precedent I wouldn't be entirely surprised if a prisoner was allowed to overrule his captor. It would make more sense than some of this update.

Rest assured, doctor, if you truly are innocent, the evidence will acquit you. In today's foolproof modern era, wrongful arrest is increasingly unlikely. You have three more days to practice your explanations.

Also, this is probably the worst line in the game. Somebody brought up the fact that, if Yahtzee actually had explained all of the space physics I bring up, the entire game would be filled with stilted sci-fi talk. Yahtzee somehow found a way to have the awkward speech of hard sci-fi with all the space wind and space gravity of soft sci-fi. Written by third graders.

Angela, while I'm here, the real killer is on the loose.
Oh yes, I forgot you were doing some investigations of your own. Who do you have pinned down for the real killer?
I think there's someone else on board.
How could another person have possibly gotten aboard? The internal scanners would have spotted them.
What if they weren't a physical being?
Doctor, I have no idea what you think you're talking about. Even if non-physical being existed, they cannot murder corporeal entities.

The Pulitzer-quality writing continues.

What about the locker?
You are becoming obsessed with that article. I have told you before. It was nothing but useless space debris. The murders of two crewmen are slightly more of an issue at the moment.
But what if there is a connection, somehow?
How could there possibly be a connection? It is an empty steel box, left to float in space for thousands of years. Are you suggesting the murderer was hiding inside?

Commander, behind you!
Counsellor, please. Even if I-

Two people have been murdered and you hear a loud noise behind you. This shouldn't even be a voluntary action; looking behind you would be perfectly reasonable. Also, it's not as though John's trying to distract you so he can walk through those laser gates unnoticed.

Thus ghost Barry, staring into the audience's soul, killed Angela. And nobody was sad.

The way these screenshots are taken is pretty awkward; it looks as though the bars were turned off and then Barry turned them on, when actually the opposite happened. To explain, we need to discuss some reasons this prison is a horrible design.

First of all, metal bars are a very good idea, while laser bars are energy inefficient and probably extremely dangerous. They probably suck a lot of power from that engine that isn't working. Rather than leaving control of prisoners to one person who would have a key, space prisoners can be let out by anyone who feels like doing so within 30 feet.

Secondly, there are few amenities provided. Pointing out the lack of a toilet is pretty nitpicky, but Yahtzee actually put bathroom doors in all the residence areas even if you can't enter them, so he clearly tried to avert this before deciding not to try. That long white bar immediately behind John is the infamous towel rack, absolutely vital for a cell without towels, a shower, or anything else necessitating a rack. It's basically just a way for prisoners to get a blunt object with which to threaten guards or each other.

Finally, those lasers flicker. This screws up screenshots and makes the prison seem less menacing. A crucial flaw in the design.

A lot of people, including me, liked the sense of danger in the bathroom during 5 Days. As a result, Yahtzee added more danger in this one, like being able to die in space or have your neck snapped in an awkwardly drawn picture. Everyone complained, including me.

Yahtzee called this hypocrisy, I call this not understanding where tension ends and annoyance begins.

This part isn't too bad. Luckily for us, Angela's first reaction upon being attacked while holding a gun is to throw said gun completely across the room, leaving it for us. Unfortunately, it's a stun gun that lasts for about five seconds, so we get to run away. Barry will follow us from room to room, so we need to get rid of him permanently. Wait, I have a wondrous idea!




So, instead of getting an obvious weapon, locking Barry in the cell, luring him into space, or any number of much more sensible options, we get to use this towel rack. First, hide in the shadows until Barry comes in and, not seeing you, decides to stare at the glowing engine that's making a lot of noise despite not working. Then walk up to him, thankful for his nonexistent peripheral vision and inability to hear, and hit him into the bottomless pit that clearly exists on the lowest floor of the ship.

I know I've already mentioned this article, but there's a reason games like this aren't fun.

We now get to reassure the other two whole survivors. Adam decided the best way to evade a killer was to go into a tunnel and huddle against the far wall with no way to escape.

You saw him killed? Why was he after us, John?
I've no idea. Come on, get out of there.

There's no in-game clue as to where these people are hiding, by the way, just like there was no way of knowing to use the towel rack or even that the rack could be added to your inventory. There's a reason why every single person in this thread who's defended the game design has still felt a need to clarify, "even though I had to use a walkthrough a few times", apparently unaware of the contradiction therein.

It's okay, It's me. I've killed him.
Are you sure?
Unless he can survive a fall down the reactor pit.
Oh thank Christ.
Are you coming out of there?
Er... no, I've just got some things to sort out in here. I'll meet you on the bridge in about ten minutes so we can talk about what to do next.

This man is not suspicious. Avert your suspicions.

Is Commander Garrett joining us?
Angela... she was guarding me when... it... arrived. It killed her.
Don't you think we can refer to "it" as "him"? The point is, he's dead now, right? We're all okay now, aren't we?

This is a line from Halloween, showing that Yahtzee is just as bad at referencing pop culture as he is at referencing Goethe (or Marlowe, I guess). Yes, we can probably refer to a male captain as him. Continue speaking like natural human beings would upon having half their ranks wiped out in less than a week.

I don't know about that, either. For some reason, when Barry was on the loose just now, it didn't seem like him.
Looked a lot like him.
No, I see what John's saying. It looked like Barry, but it wasn't him. Like something was controlling him. And let's not forget Barry is dead.
We don't know that. All John saw was a space suit, and THAT disappeared.
I mean, the sensors never picked up more than four life-forms on board, three after we lost Angela. Whatever that thing was, it had no life signs.

Presumably, you should now be getting a concussion from banging your head into the nearest wall. There is absolutely nothing about this conversation that makes sense, from the fact that Barry is dead being treated as an afterthought to the way the onboard sensors detect "life" but apparently not something like, say, movement.

This is getting very disturbing. Whatever made Barry rise from the grave may still be present. For caution's sake, I think we should get off the ship now.

The first two murders were one thing, but a third? Now I'm moderately disturbed.

William, isn't there some rule about ship's doctors being given the key to one of the escape pods? Some regulation to do with medical emergencies?
But surely you don't think it's necessary. It's just three more days until help arrives.
William, in the last three days half the crew have been wiped out.
Okay, okay. We'll take the pod.

Not suspicious at all.

First we have to fuel it, warm up the engine, and run a systems check. That'll take a few hours.

In case there's a medical emergency, we'll be ready to go immediately after several hours of setup and maintenance. Provided the patient lives long enough to get on the escape pod, we'll launch him somewhere and hope he lands near some place with penicillin.

Then we should all try to get some sleep. We'll get the hell out of here first thing tomorrow.

So, a supernatural force is killing people off but can be subdued as long as someone keeps their wits and a towel rack about them. Rather than work through the "night" to be able to escape, John resorts to the Chzo protagonists' classic "Let's do it tomorrow" strategy, which has worked brilliantly in the past. What should they do in the meantime?

It's almost nine o'clock. Where the hell is he?
He could have just overslept. Look, you wait here. I'll go down to his quarters to check on him.

If you guessed something logical, deduct ten-thousand points from your score, because you're clearly not seeing the pattern. If you guessed that everyone should split up and sleep in different rooms, congratulations, you have what it takes to go to space.

Looks like blood coming out from under William's door.

There's blood coming out from under his door.
God. And then there were two.
Is the escape pod ready?
It's been ready for hours, but that's not the problem. The security card is still in William's quarters.

This escape strategy is just a masterwork of good planning

Behind a locked door. I knew this wasn't going to end so easily. Is there any other way?
I think there is. The console in Barry's quarters can control all security systems. It's some kind of defensive measure.
Okay, so we just need to go there and sort that out.
[Boring stuff about need for a passcode and looking for clues to what it might be]

Email is easily transmitted to unexplored areas of space.

And now we get yet another read Yahtzee's mind puzzle. This depends on so many idiotic coincidences and is so unbelievably contrived (I'm so glad the key was recoverable, a shame nobody else knew the password, thankfully the computer explicitly tells us how long it is, good thing he got that email in space, thankfully Barry made his password be his birthday instead of "123456" or "729154", etc) that my easily broken suspension of disbelief is mildly impacted. Thankfully, it's just a matter of simple subtraction, a leap of logic, and remembering that this game uses the British date system despite measuring in yards. We then discover that Barry's birthday was a month after the same day as Matthew and Lil' DeFoe's (I love retcons).

The top option shows that Yahtzee's just as good at subtle foreshadowing as ever. Now we get to go down to William's room and...

Look at that, he's helping out the killer. I'm so moderately surprised.

Next time, the game continues not being good.

Creator Commentary
How I would work out puzzles when making these games was I would start with the end objective and add phases in between it and the beginning. Hence:

Defeat zombie Barry
- Wait for Barry in reactor room
- Push Barry off bridge

Somehow that didn't seem like enough for the main puzzle of the day. So I thought about what the character would have close to hand and would conceivably grab as a makeshift weapon.

Defeat zombie Barry
- Wait for Barry in reactor room
- Take towel rail from cell (FUCK ME AM SAMRT)
- Push Barry off bridge

I honestly forgot to make the machete go away, but what I should have done at this point was restrict the player's access to the rest of the ship. Make it a slightly more desperate chase around the engineering deck. Establish that the player could engage the monster in hand to hand combat if necessary (like pushing away the Scissorman in Clock Tower) but that some kind of edge was needed. Any edge. Make it more tense, rather than a casual pottering about the ship.

Incidentally the monster at this point was originally going to be a misshapen experimental flesh-thing implied to be a preliminary attempt at  the Welder's new body . But that would have meant more animation duty, and I've already established I was determined to get through this with a bare minimum of effort. Hence just the re-use of Barry sprites with slower animation speed and red pixels smeared up his arms and torso. And while we're on the subject, by Christ is that towel rail swinging animation dodgy.

And of course there could have been a much better reason given as to why the escape pods couldn't be accessed yet. Maybe someone sabotaged the mechanism and Adam needed time to fix it. The three survivors would agree to stay together in the escape pod room until the job was finished. But the work would drag on into the night and finally Dr. John would let his eyes close for a second... possible space for a nightmare sequence... then he wakes up a couple of hours later to find himself alone again. Next job is to find the others, and that's when we find Adam claiming to be looking for William, and the blood coming out from under William's door.