The Let's Play Archive

The Submachine Series

by Carbon dioxide

Part 11: Submachine 5: The Root

Part 11
Submachine 5: The Root

Click here to play the game yourself.

Welcome to a new chapter in the main series. Let's jump right into it.

The game starts with a series of tubes, for some reason. Once you click all the valves on a screen, it scrolls up to the next part.

After three of those pipe screens we get a title card and the actual game starts.

I found a some paper and a pencil! Perhaps I should leave messages for those that come after me, just like others did for me.

Thumpmonks - Submachine 4 - The Lab
The music from the Lab plays here. The version in this game seems to be subtly different from the version in Submachine 4, but I won't upload every little music variant.

I don't know if anyone will read this, but who knows. If you've come this far, you may have heard of Murtaugh. I'm still not sure what his deal is, but so far he has saved my ass several times, so I'm going to trust him for now. I figured out how to use the Portal device and I tried to use it to escape from the Lab. Just when I thought I solved the last puzzle, I heard something about applying for a job, and then I blacked out.

I woke up here, feeling relatively well. I think I slept a long time, which was to be expected - who knows how many days I've been lost in this Subnet already. All I know is that I can't remember the last time I saw the actual sun. I feel like I dreamt a lot during my sleep, but I don't remember any of it. In any case, it was quite a surprise to wake up to the smell of fresh bread. Someone had left some sandwiches and a glass of water next to my bed. Finally some food, I felt like I was starving. There doesn't seem to be anyone here right now, so it's a mystery who left the food.

I explored a little bit of the surroundings, and I could hardly believe what I found.

A bathroom! And not just any bathroom.

One with actual running water, and it even had a fresh towel, soap, and not to forget, toilet paper. Needless to say, I finally got a chance to clean myself. After all that, I feel ready to tackle anything. Let's find out what Mur (I assume it's Mur) wants from me.

Apparently we're in some other part of the Lab. We can open the hatch in the middle room and climb down.

On the lower level we find a computer. Pressing the power button turns it on, as one would expect.

Murtaugh posted:

Hi there.
Did you sleep well?
I've got an assignment for you.
You seem to be the best man for this job since your training involved dealing with wisdom crystals. You have to track back your actions and retrieve them. The easiest way is to access the root location and start from there. Root coordinates are: 5-5-2, and don't forget lab coordinates which are 0-0-1. Good Luck.


Assignment posted:

First assignment:
- retrieve three so-called "wisdom gems", lost in the subnet over the years. Those artifacts, engineered in the first sub-era by unknown manufacturer are the only approvable energy source for the machine situated in the corridor location. This location can be accessed by 7-4-7 code.
- power up the machine.
- investigate far side of the net.
- return unharmed.

Whatever you say, boss. Anyway, this is what the Notes item we picked up is actually for, the protagonist will automatically make a note of important stuff.

To the right of the ladder, there's the way to the Portal.

Another hatch, another ladder to climb. Why don't they have stairs in their house?

We found the Portal already. We have three sets of coordinates right now, the Lab (leading back to here), the Corridor and the Root. None of the other coordinates from Submachine 4 work anymore. I assume this is more because of a game design reason than anything else - after all, everything is connected in Submachine Universe.

Let's check out the Corridor first. It's a small location where we can't do much yet.

Thumpmonks - Submachine 5 - Corridor

We can't seem to go any further to the left.

To the right, we find an electric door of some kind. I also discovered a weird little bug here: if you check your notes in the Corridor portal room, once you leave the screen showing your notes, you magically find yourself one screen to the right, in the room with the arrows.

Behind the door we find this sort of... control room or whatever it is. We'll be back later.

Let's take the portal to the Root. In this seemingly outside area, the background track sounds like howling wind.

There's a tricky secret here, by clicking on the ground to the left of the Portal Device, or just 'behind' it, we find some hidden steps behind the device.

Downstairs we find the first of only five Secrets. The Secrets in this game tend to be well-hidden though.

Going right from the portal.

While writing this update, I'm noticing that the further we get into the series, the more rooms we encounter that don't have puzzles and just give more flavour to the game. In any case, we pick up a somewhat hidden Lead Casting here.

Thumpmonks - Submachine 5 - Old Bricks

We're in the main part of the Root now.

We can't explore much though, the lights are still out.

This one was a bit tricky to find. In this room you can remove that plug, if you notice that you can unlatch the tiny clamps holding it by clicking on them. Open up that switch box on the wall, connect the plug, and there's light. I doubt this is safe electrical engineering, but it works.

Now we can climb further down. By the way, the wiki gathered a lot of Submachine lore from forum posts by Mateusz. I'll probably miss a bunch, but I'll share the interesting things I find.

For instance, the Root is the oldest man-made Submachine, built in the early 20th century (before 1906).

Going up the ladder, we find some thing on the wall here which opens. As far as I know, there's no purpose to it. Let's go left.

You might be wondering about the Ancient Section now. Isn't that older than the Root? Yes, but as far as I understand it was an existing location that got absorbed by the Subnet. It wasn't specifically created as a Submachine.

By the way, I wish people would stop rearranging the wiki. I sometimes have trouble finding information again.

All the way to the left is this rusty old device. It doesn't seem to work anymore, but we can pick up the Wrench lying on the ground.

Our protagonist seems to think it's some sort of 1950s observation room. This fact doesn't seem relevant to the puzzles, we actually won't be coming back here. It does make the history of this place even more mysterious, though. Did explorers rediscover this place in the 40s or 50s?

There was another ladder going down from the lower floor. Let's explore that part of the Root.

We use the Wrench to remove the bolts, so we can grab the Rusty Key. Another small gameplay difference: in this game, the selected item becomes the cursor, and once you click on a bolt with the Wrench, it gets locked in the short animation, meaning you have to wait before you can click on the second bolt.

The rusty key opens this locker on the top floor, so we can grab a rusty piece of metal from the hook.

It's the first Cipher Plate and it fits in either of the slots of this machine we passed on the ground floor.

Putting it in the left slot and pressing the button transports us to another place in the Root. Looks like this thing is some kind of short-range portal device.

Going down and to the right, we find another of these lightning bolt devices. We can't do anything with it yet.

Further to the right, there's a bathtub with some kind of liquid in it, and a sign.

That sounds all dangerous and chemical like! Let's write it down!

Time for another chemistry note. The formula on the sign is citric acid, the acid in citrus fruits - kinda. C6H8O7 certainly is citric acid. The "x H2O" is likely intended to indicate the monohydrate (a common crystalline form of the acid, in which water molecules are 'caught' inside the crystal structure). This is normally written as C6H8O7 ⋅ H2O, the floating dot indicating that the water is a separate molecule that's stuck in the crystal. I guess Mateusz confused the dot with the multiplication sign and turned it into an x.

In any case, hydration is specifically a property of the crystalline solid. Once it actually gets dissolved in water, there aren't any caught water molecules left, and the correct way of writing is C6H8O7(aq), where the (aq) stands for 'dissolved in aqua'. The stuff in the bathtub is clearly a solution, hence, the sign is technically incorrect.

The final room to the right is this one. Those pipes swing a bit when I touch them with the mouse cursor. That's all.

Back at the transporter, putting the Cipher Plate in the right slot takes us to yet another part of the Root.

We'll soon pick up another Cipher Plate, giving us access to even more transporter locations. There's plenty left to explore... so let's do that next time.