The Let's Play Archive

The Chzo Mythos

by Quovak

Part 33: 6 Days, Part 4: Ohm, Erikson, and Dan Savage Cry Themselves to Sleep

6 Days, Part 4: Ohm, Erikson, and Dan Savage Cry Themselves to Sleep

Last time (a few hours ago), we proved to Janine and ourselves that there's nothing of note in the hub. As such, we're now trying to get into the hub. To do that, we first have the exact same conversation about ID cards again.

Do you notice... any changes in the main corridor?

[Janine has always seen it as a dungeon, she thinks she's going insane]

Remember that everything we're doing here is because Theo can't turn a wheel. It's clearly not stuck or otherwise more difficult than a normal wheel, given that Janine can turn it without difficulty, so use this as a rubric for how injured Theo is. Ignore the fact that he can walk.

Do you know her?
Maybe, there's something about her face. Could I meet her?
She's dead.
It wasn't me! It used my hands, but it wasn't me!
I'm so sorry, Philip. You didn't... You didn't deserve... Why are you doing this to us?
Calm down, you're freaking out.
I apologize. Some memories returned with a suddenness that caught me off guard. Nothing that answers why I am in this facility, however.

No, Trilby being incredibly bipolar is not the retcon. He does, however, win the immediate detachment award. This Trilby will never show any remorse or shock again.

[Theo convinces Trilby to open doors as part of finding out his history.]

What on earth's the matter?
Oh god!
Wait a second, Trilby is the one you're so afraid of?
Who else would it be, for god's sake?

This conversation works if we project ourselves onto Theo, but not if we go by what's actually happened to him. Yes, he saw the Tall Man very briefly, but it's pretty reasonable to assume that she would be afraid of the gun-toting regenerating man whose other personalities are fairly aggressive and who locks her up semi-regularly.

Madam, I don't even know who you are.
Why are you so afraid of him? What do you think he'll do to you?
I don't know why I'm so scared, but I just look at him and I feel like I'm going to faint.
He's not with the order anymore. He's lost his memories. We need him if we're going to open this door.

[More senseless arguing that means nothing]

Why isn't it working? It worked last time.

Challenge: Think of all the reasonable excuses for the door being impossible to open. Another security system being turned on after the clever "open me" safe and notebook in plain sight didn't hide it well enough? Something supernatural that would fit with the theme? Vladimir feeling like extending the game's length a bit? Oh no, it's much worse.

Welcome to one of the least sensible puzzles in the series. Sure, the salty bear was bad, but it almost pretended to somewhat work within the supernatural setting. This, however...

Why would a door that's manually raised by wheels need a fuse? Why would Theo assume a fuse was out when the light directly above the door is clearly on? Why would a fuse, specifically designed to break when there's excess current in a circuit, break during completely normal and low-power usage that happened once?

This sounds like more Space Lessons-style obsessiveness, but it's not as though I'm criticizing the game solely for not following my standards of electrical wiring. It gets worse.

So, Theo's somehow right, and the manually operated door has its own fuse separate from things immediately around it that actually require electricity. If you were in Theo's situation, would you replace the burnt fuse with one of the many others in the fusebox? Theo wouldn't, he would just use a staple.

Seriously, we grabbed some papers to take a staple to use as a conductor of electricity for a door. This is one of those amazing puzzles that does absolutely everything wrong: picking up an item you have no reason to need, using it in an illogical way, solving a nonexistent problem while probably creating more (that staple will either warp immediately or magically conduct as much electricity as possible, defeating the entire point of a fuse) and needing to walk back and forth through the same hallway a few times to accomplish it.

I know it doesn't seem as bad as salty bear on a stick, but I firmly believe staple in a fuse box is worse.

I tried to stop her.

Remember how I told you that Harty shouldn't have died? Theo and Janine could clearly see into this room, and there are guards that presumably don't kill the people they're guarding (and who created them).

Our task is to stand here, always.
Did a woman pass through here?
Why didn't you stop her?
Our task is to guard this door, not to monitor who goes in or out.

I think that monitoring who goes in and out of a door is the entire point of guarding a door. Add "guard" to the list of professions Trilby is bad at.

Are these clones? Clones of me?

No, I don't know why Yahtzee thought it was a good idea to have three of the same person speak to each other. The confused one is the Trilby who's a more major character, though later there's a different Trilby who becomes important. It's not handled all that well.

...yeah, I think so.
Am I a clone?
Ah. That explains pretty much everything. Shall we continue?

Trilby: Poor thief, poor secret agent, poor guard, and poor investigator into anything (for example: "Why are we being cloned and killed off regularly? Am I at risk?")

Well, since nobody seems to mind us getting through a double-locked blast door, two guards, and another reinforced door with No Entry signs all over it, we're now in DeFoe Manor because Yahtzee hates when you know what's going on. The walls are constantly blurring and unblurring.

What's going on, where am I? Theo? Are we in the hub?
I think so, but this isn't the ruin I saw.

Again, I'll try explaining the implicit bits of the plot: This complex was built on the ruins of DeFoe Manor, and said ruins, which are located in this hub, contain John's mind. We're magically inside his mind because shut up.

I know this place. John DeFoe... where I thought I destroyed him. Where I tied his spirits to his bones and set him ablaze.

Well, actually I just burned his bones, and it turns out that all the other stuff about tying his soul to his body didn't actually accomplish anything along the lines of destroying it, so I kind of botched that one in retrospect.

But... that was just a movie.
No, it-
Look out!

The Prince is in the perfect position to kill Theo. Killing Theo would help the Prince out a lot. The Prince will not kill Theo. Again.

What the hell was that?!
What's happening to the walls?

To reiterate my defense, this game is not any more comprehensive when not in screenshots. Thankfully, we're going to have an exposition dump in about five seconds.

Ah, good. I was starting to forget Vladimir was mysterious and worth paying attention to given how long it's been since he last told us absolutely everything.

No! No, I do not understand! I don't understand why I'm being put through this nightmare. I don't understand the things I'm seeing. And I don't understand why you can't give me a simple straight answer!
If straight answers are what you require, then I will accommodate you. The house you saw is called DeFoe Manor. It does not, however, physically exist. It is a construct of John DeFoe's mind, a manifestation. When John DeFoe died, his mind and body went into his house. When Trilby burnt it down, two hundred years ago, he assumed that both were destroyed. But the infection of DeFoe's mind clung to the ruins, and to the very land on which it stood, even while his body burned away. Measures had to be taken, however, to ensure that the infection would not spread.

If DeFoe's mind could spread, why didn't it do this in the 200 years after it was separated from his body and soul? Why does everybody in the universe refer to him as John when that was a name Trilby made up to make filing easier? Why exactly doesn't fire ever destroy important things?

What measures?
Let me reiterate what the cultist asked you. Why was Samantha Harty employed to clone Trilby, of all people, multiple times?

This might seem a bit anticlimactic after I've spent so much time complaining about this justification. There's another several-paragraph rant coming up, however.

As soon as Trilby was... removed... everything started going berserk.
Indeed. For a wraith, being crammed back inside your rotting bones is a traumatic and painful experience. To then be shot down and set alight, unable to die, to feel the constant agony of body and mind reduced to ash... until then, DeFoe feared only his father. Afterwards, Trilby was, in his mind, the embodiment of pain, and his mere presence acts as a ward against DeFoe. Trilby was, from then on, utterly immune to DeFoe's corrosive influence, although he never realized it. And only with a constant presence of Trilby throughout the complex could the evil of DeFoe's mind be restrained within the hub.

Trilby is here because he was a popular character and there was a prophecy that Yahtzee needed to have him fulfill. He was not here because John DeFoe was afraid of him. A man named Tunahead summed this up rather nicely:

Tunahead posted:

Since John DeFoe has basically devolved into a mindless animal due to the retardation and mental and physical abuse, I doubt he'd be able draw complicated cause/effect conclusions like Foxkit/Proofreader/whoever are suggesting that point towards Trilby and all his salty bear-magic. After all, what he actually saw happen was whatsherface shooting him in the face while that student fellow channelled his brother to make hurtful accusations. Meanwhile Trilby just kind of stood in a corner looking bored.

That, indeed, is a big part of it, that Trilby didn't actually kill John DeFoe (as we're explicitly reminded of in the beginning). Hell, Simone only killed him because she was channeling Roderick, who tortured him for several years and would thus be a much more sensible person for DeFoe to consider the embodiment of pain.

However, there's a more basic problem with all of this. First of all, DeFoe being afraid of people at all was excised from his personality back in 7 Days, making it a bit nonsensical to come back, but both versions of DeFoe depended on one major character trait: he can't differentiate between people. That's why he murdered everyone in the first place, because he thought they were his dad. That's why he killed the brother who tried to save him, because John thought Matthew was his dad (as, once again, we're explicitly reminded at the beginning of this game). Presumably, John should either be afraid of everybody or, now that he has stabbing down to an art, nobody. Thousands of Mbouta clones would make about as much sense.

But... the tall, thin man, the one with the coat, he's the head of the order, right?
Why does he keep killing the Trilbies?
That I do not know. But I do know that the more of them that die, the further DeFoe bleeds into the surrounding complex. You may not have long. DeFoe is a creature of monstrous violence. Samantha Harty's fate, I fear, was only the beginning.
Is Janine alright?
Perhaps you should find out.

"Finally," you think, "Quovak is done being angry at freeware adventure games". Well, no. This update still has one appallingly bad decision left.

No! Not again! Janine! Open the door! Janine, please! PLEASE open the door! JANINE, FOR GOD'S SAKE!

Phew, now that we've closed a door, we're safe from that bloodthirsty creature who can teleport.

I'm sorry, Theo. I'm just so scared.
I know.
It keeps happening. I don't even remember going into the hub. I was waiting for you outside the door. Then I was... nothing. I'm scared out of my mind because there's something... something's trying to take me over.
Look at me, okay? I'm not going to let that happen.
I can feel it all around me, whispering in my ear all the time.
Just hold me.

I've used the phrase "lack of basic human empathy" to describe three characters so far, and it might seem odd that I lump boring but apparently-loving Theo in with "Do things for me despite having a broken leg" Harty and "Logically I believe this is illogical" Angela. However, let me remind you of what this "relationship" has consisted of:

Day 1: Get guns from her, realize she's horribly insecure and frightened, leave her.
Day 2: Have her open a door and witness a murder, realize she's horribly insecure and frightened, leave her.
Day 3: Convince her that she's being a baby about not wanting to get murdered, have her witness another murder, yell at her, realize she's horribly insecure and frightened, then have sex with her.

You think I'm joking? I only wish...

Something tells me not to. I ignore it.

Something tells me not to. I ignore it. Something tells me I'm taking advantage. I ignore it.

Evil raging outside our door, we comfort each other. Through love, and pain, we bond. By the sixth day, we would both be dead.




What the fuck, Yahtzee?

I mean, I guess I could go on a long rant about how having sex takes slightly more effort than turning a wheel and shouldn't be attempted three days after breaking half your body. I could talk extensively about how Theo is completely taking advantage and in a really creepy and dysfunctional way. I could rant about how completely out of place a sex scene with (admittedly pretty mild) nudity is in a game like this and how it wasn't built up at all. I could discuss the horrible middle-school foreshadowing of "by the way, we were going to die soon" that doesn't fit the framing device of the narrative at all. I could even point out that this isn't how you count, since Theo only spends five days in the complex and the sixth day follows a different situation. In this case, however, I'll leave it up to you guys to decide whether or not this is worse than wanting to go into space. In my book, it's pretty close.

Next time, a long and tedious puzzle. Very little else. Day 5 is really good, however. I promise.

Creator Commentary
So you agree that having sex would be painful if you were that heavily injured, but you still call it 'taking advantage'? I thought it was fairly clear that Janine was the instigator. She's on top, look. I considered making it seem closer to a sexual assault than anything consensual but that weirded me out even more.

Fact is, this is me trying to do something disturbing without realising that I'm the only one it disturbs. I've come to develop a weird aversion to sex. I've never been really sold on it. It's possible I have some hangups from a few things from my past, but these days I'm pretty much celibate (and it's not for want of female (or even male) attention, thank you very much, I mean, I own a bar, for christ's sake). I don't think it's immoral, or anything. I just find it a bit gross. This may be linked to the fact that I hate kids and the thought of having any of my own makes me want to stick a gun in my mouth.

The sex scene was intended to be grotesque, not in any way titillating. It's about characters succumbing to something animalistic as they lose their grip on reality. It's an expression of Janine's descent into madness (consider how she's behaving immediately afterwards), and another torture device to pile onto Theo. In case it's not been obvious enough so far, the theme of 6 Days is the Blessed Agonies, and how a comparatively short period of experiencing them is enough to turn Theo, the ultimate everyman, into something to Chzo's liking. And the sex thing is part of it. It's just plain physically painful but he's doing it because it's what Janine wants, and she's  completely and utterly doomed. 

But I understand that most people don't see sex the same way I do, so the intention might have been lost. I defend the concept, but not so much the execution. Doing it again, I probably would make Janine overtly rape him. At least that's got the shock value. And lose the text. Or at least change it to something like "AAAAAAAAAA FUCKING HELL GET OFF AAAAAAAA"

Well, fine, so maybe he's being a bit skeezy. He's had a hard week. Begrudge him some titties.