Part 18: Submachine 7: The CorePart 18
Submachine 7: The Core
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It's time for the next game in the main series, The Core. If you remember, last time, in the Edge, we turned off the Submachine's defense systems, but then Murtaugh betrayed us and we barely escaped by taking a Portal to an unknown location.
We arrive in the new location to see the Portal fizz out. We left the Connection Pod behind at the Edge portal so there's no way to go back - not that we wanted to anyway. Let's explore.
♫ Thumpmonks - Submachine 7 - Dark
Immediately to the left we find this strange sort of energy barrier. If we touch it (by clicking) it causes a tiny ripple and a dull sound. But we're not getting through like this.
To the right of the portal then. Here we find some weird machinery and Greek-inspired remnants of a building.
More importantly, we find our first inventory item, the Steel Tube. On the next screen, there's more... stuff and a few planks hiding an item.
The blue square object is a Key Stone. We'll take it with us. A bit further ahead, we find some useful stuff. Seems there's been people here not that long ago.
We grab the Code Card from the ground, and the Picture and Note from the table. This game has separate inventory slots for notes and for pictures, making it easy to look through them for hints. That will come in handy.
The picture seems to have some kind of hint. As far as the note goes...
Okay, this tells us a few things. Submachine explorers have been here, probably Murtaugh's people if not himself. They were here four years ago - the game was released in December 2010 and the note is dated December 2006. And a set of Portal coordinates. Except, they aren't that useful. As you can find out in Submachine Universe, they're actually the coordinates of our current location, known as the Sanctuary.
note to myself
possible entry points failed
check on 291
good feeling about this one
One screen further to the right we find a dead end - we have to be careful to not fall into the void. But there's another picture with a hint here.
The Code Card allows us to pull the switch and shut down the energy barrier to the left. Let's continue.
...only to run into another barrier, this time without a reachable off switch. Let's at least grab that rock on the pillar.
Hey! Did you see that? I can't pass through... but that rock can. That gives me an idea.
And with the light bulb broken, the shield shuts off and we can go on. But that reminds me of something.
After switching off the previous shield, we could've taken the intact Lightbulb. Let's grab it now, I don't want to come back for it later. Let's go left.
More pillars and more weird tech. And a valve we'll need in a bit.
Nothing of use to the right here, but someone broke through the wall so we can go further left. The text appears when you look at the Buddha statue.
We do grab the Gong stick standing against the statue. To the left there's a pair of big guns. Are these part of the defense grid? Were they brought here by the human explorers? At least they seem to be out of order now. We'll take the Key sitting at the bottom of the screen though.
These pretty fluorescent plants are everywhere in this area. It's part of why I think the Core looks so pretty and alien. They sway around a bit whenever my cursor passes them. Anyway, the empty pot has another Key Stone.
Further to the left, we find some old ruins, and then a gong. Well, we have a stick, so...
We'll find out what the gong did in a second. In the pot there's another hint picture. We have no idea yet what it's for.
Further on we find some more plants and pots. There doesn't seem to be anything here, but it turns out there's a small clickable area between two of the pots. Here we find our first Token, which are the optional secrets of this game. There are five in total but they're really well hidden.
We're as far right as we can go. Another statue with a zen-like message, but this one is holding a third Key Stone. We've seen all of the Sanctuary now, so we'll have to backtrack and see if we can find a way out of here.
On the way back we find that the rubble on the screen to the right of the gong has assembled itself into some sort of doorway... including floating blocks. But we can't do anything with it yet. First we have to go all the way back to the explorer camp and use our key to open a box.
Where we find a carefully packaged wisdom gem for the taking - although this game calls it an Energy Gem.
The Energy Gem fits into a slot in the gateway and activates it.
To actually open the gateway we need to use the right combination of Key Stones. That's where we need one of the hint pictures.
We put the Key Stones in the right way, use the valve to turn the middle part, and there we go. The gate opening doesn't make any sound, so if you don't know what to do you might be stuck trying combinations for a looong time. Anyway, let's step into the light.
Woah... that was weird.
♫ Thumpmonks - Submachine 7 - Heavenly
I like this track. As soon as you step through the gateway, you know that you're in a completely different kind of place. Welcome to the Winter Palace.
A few of the notes here don't fit on a single page, this is one of them. Make sure to read the transcription for those.
Well, Liz seems nice so far. It's just... who knows how long ago this was written. Let's keep exploring to make sure.
My name is Elizabeth.
Welcome to my temple of solitude.
There is a great chance that you wandered here after being tested by Murtaugh. If that is the case, I am very sorry that I couldn't get to you before him. It must have been tough on you to get through all his traps, tests and tasks to fulfill. However - worry no more. If you can't find me in the garden, then I am at my laboratory and will be joining you shortly.
Please wait patiently here and try not to touch anything.
Let's go left first. There's an inscription on the stone here. I don't really know why there's suddenly a king or who he is, but we could use some peace after all that happened in the Edge.
We're basically on a path that connects the actual Winter Palace to the right to the South Garden on the left, and we're currently going towards the Garden. The stand here has a map and an attached note.
Okay, seems we're somewhere in the middle of this garden. The map looks complicated and apparently it mimics the Submachine network? Weird.
How could they have possibly known?
How could they mimic the structure of the subnet so accurately within simple garden plans?...
This is completely baffling.
Further to the left there's four more smaller gateways. Only one is active, so let's go through.
We've teleported to the top right of the map... and there's lots of these pretty plants here, and floating rocks with mushrooms for some reason. The Submachines get so strange sometimes...
Further to the right we find a bronze Key, and after that a dead end. We can't go any further in the South Garden right now, so let's return to the large gateway and explore the Winter Palace.
Thank you, majesty.
Now this one screen annoys me a lot. Submachine 7 is a great game overall but here I got stuck for a while on what I think is a game design mistake. You know how Submachine has taught you so far to click on the edge of the screen to go to the next area? Well, in this case, if you click on the far right (near the banister with the plants behind it), the screen scrolls right and you end up on a walkway in front of the palace. But if you click on the domed gateway to the middle-right, the screen also scrolls right, and you go inside the palace. There's nothing clearly indicating that these are different paths, until you actually find there's two separate clickable areas. Of course you need to go both ways to beat the game. You could wander around for hours trying to find an item you missed or something, while it was a fork in the road all along.
Anyway. Let's first take the far right path to the walkway in front of the palace.
I'm not sure what kind of laboratory can be docked... but it seems these out of place things to the right are the docking clamps. Now we just need to find a row boat to get to the lab.
I know it is kind of ironic to dock my laboratory out here in the ruins of the winter palace.
The king always wanted this palace to become safe haven for people of science.
Here I am, my king.
To the left of the ladder, the path seems to be broken up into floating blocks. All that's here is a Stone Key (not to be confused with a Key Stone) we can pick up.
Back to the palace entrance, let's visit the actual Winter Palace this time.
Hah. This place was built by the same guy that built the Lighthouse. That explains a lot.
Welcome to the world's famous Winter Palace of the fourth dynasty.
Built in 1832 by sir Henry o'Toole, a young architect, barely known at that time, merely the servant of King's master urbanist.
After finishing this palace o'Toole gained respect in modern art circles of the Western Kingdom.
This Winter Palace and surrounding gardens are prime examples of antistructural architecture freed from boundaries of material durability.
Make sure you also visit the famous Kent Lighthouse built by the same architect.
Thank you for coming, we hope to see you again.
Indeed. The Lighthouse was built in 1857, so this was built 25 years earlier. What's also fascinating is that the pamphlet seems to be designed by the same person that made the Lighthouse tourist pamphlet (I think that's Mateusz' signature at the bottom).
The door here is closed tight. But as I move my mouse towards a certain crack in the wall, some weird light appears. Let's carefully...
ARGH WHAT THE HELL! I think I'm gonna vomit. That felt like someone pulled me through a tiny tube by my navel.
Okay so we seem to have been teleported. Note that that animation normally only lasts a fifth of a second, so blink and you miss it. Now, let's see what that note has to say.
So, we've finally found the work of Murtaugh's karma arm, first hinted at in the very first game, before there was any kind of real story. Turns out they destroy the world - they're the cause of all shattered areas and floaty blocks.
Now you know how Murtaugh's karma portals work. You just used one. They can in fact transport you through different dimensions.
However the ones drawn within the core are... short range. Those were the first ones he has ever drawn. A test. Baby steps if you will.
Now that you used one - please, do not use them anymore. They shatter the fabric of this dimension. Murtaugh neglected that fact and... Just look around where we ended...
By the way, in the right picture you see where the portal 'exits'. Karma portals are two-way, we could return through it.
To the right we find what looks like a puzzle, which we can't solve quite yet.
Left of the karma portal we find this door. It turns out it's the same locked door we saw before. The karma portal only teleported us two screens away, short range indeed. At least this means we don't have to take that portal ever again. Let's go up the stairs.
This is the view outside that window. Looks like there's some rocks floating in the void there.
To the left we find another karma portal. We have no choice to go through to collect a required item.
Crap, are you serious? I don't want to go through that again... okay quickly then..
We're now on that little rock we saw through the window. There's another Stone Key here, and that's it. We have to take the karma portal (in the crack in the rock) back to where we just were.
By the way, I'm not showing it off but the direction of the karma portal animation and the shape of the thick line is different each time you use a portal. From the portal, let's go to the right of the stairs.
Once there was a man who said he knew what was happening after Murtaugh left.
Since then that man left us as well.
Anyway, the second secret Token is hidden in the crack in the back wall. Good luck finding that if you don't know where to look.
And the Key we found earlier opens this door.
Some sort of control room, with another note.
I suppose they're talking about Mur. I'm not sure what kind of relationship he and Liz had or have.
Why does this sociopath only talk to Elizabeth?
Anyway, on the wall there's the map of the Garden again, this time without a "You are here".
And the control panel poses an easy puzzle. Only the third of four gates to the Garden was active, and only the third switch is down. So if we pull all of them down, and run back to the Garden entrance...
We can now explore the rest of the Garden.
But we'll do that next time. So join me then as we explore the rest of the Garden and the Palace, try to solve the most complicated puzzle in Submachine so far, and try to find out where Liz has gone.