The Let's Play Archive

Torment: Tides of Numenera

by TheGreatEvilKing

Part 40: Even The Killer Robots Can't Shut Up!

Even The Killer Robots Can't Shut Up!

Welcome back! It's been a while, but I got a new desktop to replace all the obsolescent machines I had lying around. Last time, the Memovira sent us on a quest to go do her job for her.

Naturally, because this is a Let's Play, we're blowing her off and doing sidequests instead.

This guy is, as far as I can tell, the closest thing this game has to a bonus boss. Past boss fights have been banal affairs at best. Anyway, have some completely redundant description. They even modeled the bones. I'd complain about this, but if you're reading this fair, you know the drill! In we go!

Remember, Matkina determines who the monster is or isn't.

Oh boy. Incidentally, this robot can talk. Like every other character in this game, it will talk a lot.

: Who are you?

: The construct stirs, and a voice emanates from somewhere in its depths. It has a hollow, empty sound, as if it speaks from a vast cavern underground.

I...ugh! I assume it's supposed to be echoing?

: I am a soldier. A predator. My names are as numerous as the wars in which I have fought.

: Surely you remember some of your names.

: Some? I remember all my names.

I was going to give props for not shitting this up with "the construct exhales" but then I reread it. Barbers used to be surgeons in the Middle Ages. If you needed an amputation you got a barber. As this is a supposedly medieval setting I don't know what to tell you.

: Who created you?

: I do not know, nor have I ever known. They culled all record of themselves from our minds. I only remember those for whom I fought... and there have been many such masters over many long millennia of service.

This sounds...familiar. Like it could have something to do with the legacy and abandonment themes Colin was talking about.

Oh, hey, those guys.

: You fought for the Tabaht? What do you remember about them?

Remember how the Tabaht destroyed the Changing God's daughter, and he dedicated his immortality to trying to bring her back?

: Much. They ruled this land as warlords before the building of Sagus Cliffs. They were slaves to an edifice known as the Underspine, yet they were its masters as well. I do not know where they came from, or who they were before they rose to power, for those things happened before they awakened me.

: I remember this too - they held single combat as the highest virtue, revealing the quality of one's soul. They believed that we had powerful souls, my siblings and I, for none of them could defeat us alone.

I love how we don't have the option to ask him if he fought in the war against Sagus Cliffs, or to try to learn the command words to get him to help us.

: What happened to the Tabaht?

We know from other sources that this was the Changing God's revenge, which was to murder all the Tabaht except The Genocide and leave The Genocide up as a monument to himself.

: I have some other questions.

: What are all these bones and armor on the ground?

: Detritus of beasts and men. It is all that remains of those who sought to best me.

: What are you doing here?

This is what I'm talking about. You could cut "The word is hollow and cold" because you've already described his voice as hollow and we can tell he's pretty emotionless about the whole thing. He's a fucking robot!

: "If I prove myself to be a predator above all others, I believe that the Bloom-tongues will catch my scent." The clicks and hisses from inside the construct's armor suddenly go quiet. "I wish to be devoured by the Bloom."

: Killing powerful predators makes you more appetizing to the Bloom?

I don't think I've commented on how many words these authors italicize for emphasis. Instead of buildup, they do this.'re not a predator, despite what you say. You kill people on command and in what sounds like self-defense. You literally spend the entire game waiting for people.

I'm sure this is supposed to be a mind-blowing mystery about the nature of the Bloom but I just don't care.

: Why do you crave rebirth?

: How many years have you lived? Only a few, judging by the firmness of your flesh. In that time, what horrors have you witnesses...or perpetrated? Do they slip into your mind in unguarded moments? Perhaps they do.

: Whatever horrors you have seen, multiply them by a thousand...a hundred thousand... across a vast, grinding millennium of wars. Now imagine that you cannot forget, cannot even distract yourself with other memories.

: Do you know what I remember? Only those things that would make me a better killer. Every severed limb, every gout of heart's blood, every cruel execution before a cheering crowd. All else is lost, for that is how my creators fashioned my brain.

: You claim to be troubled by the violent things you've seen and done. But you're a killing machine...why should those things bother you?

: A long moment passes before the construct speaks. "I have pondered that question for all the years since I awoke in your world...and also during the long aeons of my sleep."

: "For centuries I felt no such revulsion at the memories of my past. But over time, the horror grew in my mind, and in the minds of all my brethren." The construct pauses again, as if considering its next words.

Broke: Having your robots shut down after a certain period of time like Apple products.
Woke: Giving your robots a conscience so that they will want to kill themselves...for the things you made them do.

: I have some other questions.

: I want to challenge you to combat.

But...why? I get this is supposed to represent him going into combat mode or whatever, but razor surgical blades seem perfect for cutting apart medieval dumbasses.

Do we even know what a hacksaw is? I guess we might as the Changing God's weird vessel, but is that a tool that would be used in this era?

: [Raises Silver Tide] After so many others have failed, I want to be known as the one who finally defeated you.

Dude, we literally made the Bloom do what we wanted.

: [Attack] I don't think you understand. You'll fight me, or you'll die.

What a sensible and interesting interaction. I'll have more to say after the exciting battle.

So, see how there's no bubble?

Yeah. There's an animation, delayed by the game telling you before it could show you.. Seriously, what the hell is wrong with these people?

We get an incredibly generic loading screen as our reward.

Yea, we get teleported to...a random space boss arena like it's the end of a Final Fantasy game. Why? Hell if I know.

This is his first attack. He shoots a bunch of missiles everywhere. I'm...kinda meh on the particle effect, to be honest.

It also hurts and knocks people back.

However, guess what he's weak to?

Status effects!

Yea. He's got 200 HP, and Callistege and The Last Castoff are hitting him for about 25 or so per round each. Oom is kinda there. Matkina is horrifically underleveled.

His second attack is called "Blink" and he teleports to people and stabs the shit out of them. Callistege goes down, but because literally any amount of healing will bring a dead character back up, we don't care.

We knock him down and blind him and just like that the fight is over.

It's no different than any other fight in the game. He doesn't have interesting mechanics or anything. He just slams numbers. Now that he's blind, he can't hit us with his attacks.

Rest in peace, missile armed combat robot. Despite being a verbose piece of pseudo-philosophical drek, you were still a robot with inbuilt missile launchers and a teleporter and thus way too cool for this shitty game.

Now, you might ask, what's our awesome reward for beating this fearsome war machine from the ancient world?

A grenade. Really. You'd think we could salvage his sweet missile launcher or something, but nope. Take your one-use cypher and get out of here. There are like a zillion grenade cyphers in this game. What else did we get?

So what's his head do? it's one of several things we can turn in to advance the main plot.

I got an achievement at least. Steam tells me only 7.6 percent of players have gotten it.

What a senseless waste of robot life.

TheGreatEvilKing summary posted:

: Don't talk to the murder robot! It kills people! Killing is bad!

: Aren't you a killer for hire? Hey! Murder robot! What's up?

: I'm a soldier, but also a predator. People called me a lot of things.

: Like what?

: Barber of Flesh.

: Oh...ha ha ha...I'm sorry, that was rude of me. Who made you?

: Hell if I know. All I know is that every few years some asshole finds my command codes on Wikipedia and makes me commit violence on their behalf. Including the Tabaht.

: I could try to persuade him to come with me...or I could ask if he fought at Sagus Cliffs because that seems to be really important to the plot...I know! Tell me about the Tabaht.

: I am going to vaguely imply that the founding of Sagus Cliffs was an act of colonialism the Tabaht were responding to, a plot thread that will never come up again and certainly wasn't implied by the actual Tabaht leader you talked to. Also, they thought I had a powerful soul because I could kick their asses.

: So what happened to the Tabaht?

: A mysterious explosion that had nothing to do with the Changing God killed their robot god and then all the people they enslaved killed their asses.

: So what's with all these dead people?

: Oh, I killed them so the Bloom will eat me. If it eats me, it will rebirth me with a clear conscience.

: farrrrrrrt

: But you're a murder robot. Why do you have a conscience?

: Oh, I think that's how my creators meant to shut us down, by driving us to suicide over actions we had no control over.

: Wanna do a boss fight?

: Fuck no! You suck!

: Time to die! Mommy needs Silver Tide points!

: I'm going to kill you, you arrogant piece of shit! Let me take you to...the JRPG Boss Zone!

: Wait, are you vulnerable to blind and knockdown? Git gud scrub!

: Oh no, I'm dead!

I want to talk about this character a bit because he seems easily more interesting than our party members. If you ask me, Waits-For-Prey here is the other big NPC who should have been a party member instead of, say, Tybir. I would make a few changes - have him confirm he was present at the battle of Sagus Cliffs, maybe make him responsible for killing Changing God's daughter. He's got a legitimate tormented arc - why do I have a soul? What kind of asshole would make a killing machine with a soul? - and it would seem like a logical course of action to convince him that maybe the Changing God has the answers.

This runs smack dab into nothing in Numenera having any spiritual significance and collapses. It's a real waste that the best thing they could think of to do with this character was just having him be an optional boss fight that drops shitty loot. It's not even an interesting fight, although at least his animations are fairly fast unlike, say Peerless. It's just amazing how they manage to take a basic, simple story arc - a tormented murderer looking for a way to atone - run it through the Numenera setting, and turn it from something that would be compelling into an incoherent and uninteresting mess. It's kind of interesting that he believes the Bloom will rebirth him if he kills more, but that conflicts directly with his stated desire to not kill things. Heck, "murder robot hates being coded to murder" isn't even a particularly new plot thread in science fiction.

I Have No Mouth And I Must Scream posted:

We had given AM sentience. Inadvertently, of course, but sentience nonetheless. But it had been trapped. AM wasn't God, he was a machine. We had created him to think, but there was nothing it could do with that creativity. In rage, in frenzy, the machine had killed the human race, almost all of us, and still it was trapped. AM could not wander, AM could not wonder, AM could not belong. He could merely be. And so, with the innate loathing that all machines had always held for the weak, soft creatures who had built them, he had sought revenge.

I have been pointing out through this entire LP that this game is running entirely on the illusion of depth, and once you punch through the pasteboard mask you find only the broken corpse of what was once a passable idea. It's a massive disappointment.

Next Time: We hang out with Aligern as the game decides what we really needed was a dungeon crawl.