The Let's Play Archive

The Chzo Mythos

by Quovak

Part 30: 6 Days, Part 1: Our Own Little Agony of the Mind

6 Days, Part 1: Our Own Little Agony of the Mind

Tomorrow I saw the Soul of the Bridgekeeper reduced to ash, and I saw the Bridge created by two-thirds. Today, the Mind of the Bridgekeeper shall meet with its destiny, and I shall see the Bridge extend between the realms, and the many children of the King shall leap and dance and sing praise in His name, for great is His wisdom and His benevolence.
-The Book of the Bridge

Welcome to the final stretch of the series. The first order of business is, of course, establishing why this game matters when it's clearly not the chronological end, and Yahtzee's explanation is basically "Shut up, it does".

Apparently, something that happens in the future will affect the present the same way as something that happens in the past. 7 Days has already "happened", so the destruction of the mind is now the final step despite happening second. The mechanics of this are never explained and it makes about as much sense as it seems to, but the game hopes that by repeating it often enough you'll just accept it. Suspend your disbelief. A lot.

I helped you when you were injured. I bandaged you when father made his mistake.
No mistake, young one. Now do you see why I tried to keep you away from this creature? It has no understanding of human ways.
You're wrong, father. If you'd [have] even given him a chance to be normal...
Cease your prattling, Matthew! It's time to put an end to the horror I unleashed.
[What are you doing, father? Father!]

Bracketed text wasn't there when this scene actually happened in 5 Days. This further supports my theory that Yahtzee has Obsessive Retconning Disorder, where keeping any part of the canon consistent for too long causes him to compulsively pull out his own hair. The disorder affects dozens of game designers every year.

The right part of the screen is pretty uninteresting, since it basically just involves "John" standing around for a while, doing what he always wanted: being boring.

On the left is Theodore, our new protagonist, and I must give Yahtzee credit for his design. Just a single look at him makes it clear that he is the most dull man to ever exist in this or any other universe, which is precisely what his character will start to entail. Also, we play as him.

The interface is almost exactly the same as 7 Days, though with a few small improvements. Files are now kept in a journal, and there's now a cell phone that allows you to talk to NPCs. In practice, the phone is fairly worthless, and the journal just makes the excessively large 20 inventory spaces look even more empty than usual. Both were added in response to criticisms of Notes (forgetting what your current task was and keeping track of Abed and Siobhan) that no longer apply to this anyway.

Get out of my way, you fool!
My name's Decabe, I phoned you a week ago?
Oh... yes... I remember.
The council has been informed that you may be extending your premises without planning permission. I just need to take a look around to make sure you aren't.

Framing devices of the series:
5 Days - I'm a master thief ready to steal things.

7 Days - I'm a master space psychologist ready to be in space.

Notes - I'm an actually developed character ready to investigate the occult after a friend's murder.

6 Days - I'm a pencil pusher ready to enforce zoning restrictions. I hate my life and cry myself to sleep.

Is it... is it completely necessary? Could you come back another time?
Well, actually, no. Is there a problem?
No! Not at all. Well, why don't I... take you up in the elevator and we can tour the building?
I'd be obliged.

Alas, it isn't an elevator shaft at all. That is, it's an elevator shaft without an elevator or safety precautions, despite being in a building that appears to be occasionally investigated. This series doesn't have a high view of government workers.

Also, the title's wrong again. You're probably sick of hearing about July 28 by this point, but it's pretty obvious that something very important and incredibly bad will happen then. Assuming you're capable of basic counting, you'll notice that this will make five days, not six.

Don't get me wrong, there are six very clearly defined days in this game, and the way this discrepancy is handled is incredibly clever and worthwhile, but Theo himself spends five days here. I guess you could consider him a sacrifice for those five days, but he probably wasn't much of one on July 23.

I told you I have no idea who he is.
Then why should you care?
I'm a doctor, for god's sake.

You don't think, if he was our agent, we would find a way to get him down here without smashing him to pieces? A broken neck is not something I call convenient.
He arrives now, of all times, and you insist it's a coincidence?
He's awake! Can you hear me? What's your name?
Theodore... Dacabe. What's... happening?
Hey, stop talking to him. I don't want either of you saying another word until my employer gets here.

This scene, like a lot of the game, was indirectly inspired by MGS2. Yahtzee found Raiden to be horribly annoying except for when Snake was also around, so he decided to compensate for his own less-interesting new protagonist by introducing Trilby as soon as possible. Then he had Trilby be a jerk so we wouldn't be too disappointed we weren't playing as him.

The issue of Trilby being in this game is one of many love it or hate it decisions. I personally love most of the craziness this game has to offer, and I actually like the Trilby aspect, but the justification for why he's hanging around is handled pretty appallingly.

This man is seriously injured! He has to be returned to the surface and taken to a properly equipped hospital.
No-one leaves, no-one breathes a word until my employer tells me what is to be done.
...God damn you.

Optimology is a religion catered for you, taking the best parts of all previous religions to make a great new way of thinking. Join Optimology today!

Optimology is supposed to be a Scientology parody. Now, even if this were done well, it wouldn't exactly be tackling new comedic ground, but this really has nothing to do with Scientology. The only real similarity is that it's a weird cult. Satire!

What's the matter?
His condition may still be degrading. The facilities here are very understocked.
Move aside.

This is a pretty difficult puzzle to express in screenshots, partly because it's hard to figure out exactly how it works even when playing. Basically, you have the ability to gesture towards various doors and have this woman try things for you. For example, she can try opening the door, which won't work, or operating the console in the lower left, which needs a password. We have to moan, call Trilby over, then swipe a piece of paper from his pocket with our broken arm without him noticing. Don't think about it too hard.

I can't see you, but there's only one way out of here.

The piece of paper contained the password, which we can use to raise a horribly inefficient energy shield that doesn't work with this perspective at all (curtains are just so... the past). As further proof that Chzo's followers hate graphic designers, just try visualizing how that lettering would look from directly in front of it.

We can now open the north door and start some excitement. But first, figuring out why this makes little sense:

Obviously, today is not July 28, which Trilby's Notes established was the only time Cabadath/The Prince/The Tall Man/The Arrogant Man/Slenderman could do anything in our universe. That STP file from the bonus update suggested that Lenkmann's summoning (you know, the one you successfully stopped as the entire point of the final puzzle) brought Cabadath into this universe instead, so supposedly he's been wandering around killing people for over 160 years. Normally I would assume this should mean that people shouldn't be alive anymore, but maybe we've just weeded out everyone who isn't really good at kicking.

Don't look through this impenetrable screen, I beg you.

Can you walk?
Just about...

Realistically, Theo probably shouldn't be able to move an hour after being critically injured. Understandably, lying down would make for a very boring game. To get around this, Yahtzee made the main female character force you to do things because she's annoying and lazy. To get around the issue of his only female character being horrendously unlikable and lacking basic human empathy, he added a second female character as a voice of reason. Then he made this second female character be horribly weak, afraid of everything, and entirely reliant on men for all forms of support. Then he gave her a nude scene. A Women's Study professor would have a field day.

How much do you remember?
I was sent here to run an inspection of the building. Some lunatic upstairs pushed me down the elevator shaft, then I wake up here.

[Exposition dump about Optimology being a front for the Order of Blessed Agonies. Theo is dull and concerned about how they don't have a permit to operate an underground complex. Bitchy Woman tells him to find the other prisoner, who was trying to find guns. She suspects Trilby was a mercenary hired to guard them, but she doesn't know why]

This game is worse about its verbosity than anything the series has thrown at us so far. As such, I'm going to heavily abridge the non-interesting exposition parts. Once the exposition is out of the way and things start happening, I'll tone my editing down considerably.

Our master will also remain, and make his own arrangements. I will evacuate last when I have given the building and complex a final inspection.

Was that there before the guard was chased off? I don't remember...

It was there before he was chased off. This line serves no purpose except to confuse you.

Other note: Canning, Ensure that the prisoners remains sealed in the holding cell for at least six days. After this, it will no longer matter. DO NOT fail, Canning; this is your chance to redeem yourself for the crime of allowing the Orzechowski woman to explore the complex unsupervised.

I miss the good old days of names like Jim.

Time for a bit of exploring. Almost the whole game is this hallway and the five or six rooms branching off of it, and, while there are a few exploration gimmicks that will show up, there's nothing like Notes' reality shifts to keep the walking interesting.

You might recognize this room as having been described in one of the Countdown games. That spin-off series was released before this game and was basically a teaser for what was to come.

Yes, all of the descriptive text is light gray on white. The cursive font was only the beginning.

No, this is not a mistake in misalligning screenshots (though it is a mistake in not catching the woman who runs off and who Theo calls after, the character being much more articulate now than he was a moment ago). The idea is that the complex is a ring and this is a changed camera angle showing a door to the interior while other doors lead to the exterior. It doesn't come across very well when everything is completely flat.

If we accept that explanation, this woman ran off in the exact opposite direction as would lead her to this door. Most of the doors are locked or empty, so she decides to run around the entire ring to open this one next to where we entered. As I said, I can see what the game was going for, but it doesn't work.

Who are you?
My name's Dacabe.
You're not one of the cultists?
One of them apparently dropped me down an elevator shaft. Dr. Harty told me to find you.

More ancestry? I never would have guessed, given how pertinent and meaningful it's been in the last few games.

We were being held captive, her and me, for the last week or so. You came from outside? Are they sending someone to help us?
We have to take these guns to Dr. Harty, maybe then we can get out of here.
I'll wait here. Please, just... don't make me go out there. I'm sorry I couldn't be more help.

You just were out there. Just because I didn't get a screenshot doesn't mean you weren't.

The worst part about the walking is that Theo drags his body and moves very, very slowly.

Now we certainly have the upper hand. All we have to do is secure him in the holding cell, then we can negotiate our release. Will Janine be joining us?
She said she was too afraid.
Odd. Well, anyway, we'll both take a gun. Even a man with two limbs out of commission can fire a gun.

There's that symbol again. It's not as though Yahtzee didn't realize how bad it looked.

No sudden movements.
So this is how your employment ends? We had no choice, Harty. You refused to listen to reason.
Shut up! I'm taking you to the cell.

This game has a weird mix of storytelling ability, as does the whole series. There are moments like this where a ton is thrown at you with no explanation and you have to start guessing. Then there are times when people throw text at you and spend ten minutes telling you exactly what you should be guessing about. Thankfully, this game has more of the former.

Damn you!
You never understood, did you, Harty? We have God on our side.
What the hell is going on?
I will-

I guess the game needed some method of regaining your attention after establishing a plot about building permits. I have to admit that it works.

I am the guide. They are only unconscious, and will awaken soon. Go to the sleeping quarters and seal yourselves in. It is not wise to roam this place at night.
Who are you?
A friend. Now go.

This should be obvious, but spoilers should be kept to even more of a minimum than they have been. As you can tell, the fun of this game is crazy speculation and watching Yahtzee try to tie all of this together, succeeding about 75% of the time. Don't reveal things, but feel free to theorize.

They overpowered us.

Well, we wanted to take Canning to the cell, and we probably could have done so while he and his bodyguard were unconscious, and we actually overpowered him due to having two people with guns instead of one, but I guess an effortless victory isn't a good enough game-opener.

Oh god. When are they going to send help?
It seems they did.
Why don't you tell Janine the same things you told me, Mr. Dacabe?
Someone tipped us off that the Optim-, I mean, the cult were building something. They sent me to see if that was true.
You see, Janine, your call was answered.
A council planning inspector. It's almost laughable.

[Arguing about if all hope is lost]

Will you please listen?! I fell down an elevator shaft this morning! I'm tired, I'm in pain, I don't know where I am... and all you've done is boss me around and evade my questions! I want to know who the hell you people are and what the hell is going on!
There was no need to shout, but perhaps there is time to fill you in, now.

[Tons of exposition about stuff we already know from the last game. The Order of Blessed Agonies inflicts pain on people to purify them and puts on the façade of Optimology since it's less creepy. Janine is a journalist who was doing a story on the complex then discovered this lab, where Bitch Woman already was. Neither of them know the purpose of the facility and B.W. refuses to talk about what she knows. Also, there's conjecture about the nature of Trilby and the Red Man which yields no conclusions and slaps you over the face that you're supposed to be curious about things. Also, they're now locked in this room and Theo whines about missing work because he's dull.]

Next time, things that are slightly more interesting. Sorry for the long update.