Part 3: Escape: Elevator
Time for our first Escape! Our sole teammate for this mission is... whoever that girl is.
Escape segments are entirely unvoiced, so no voice tracks this time.
VLR OST: [Ambidexterity]
This track is a remix of "Unary Game" from 999.
VLR is a little bit more self-aware than 999 when it comes to tutorials. They're somewhat briefer, somewhat less frequent, and generally not quite as annoying... although you'll still notice them.
Speaking of tutorials, they tie in to one of VLR's new mechanics. Right there on the menu, next to the Archive, Memo Pad, something called "Flow", the Save screen and a Conversation Log is a difficulty selector. Easy Mode doesn't make any of the actual puzzles any easier, but instead enables a whole bunch of extra hint-filled dialogue lines when you examine things repeatedly or fail puzzles - kinda like 999.
Naturally, our first action in every escape is going to be putting ourselves irrevocably into Easy Mode. There's two reasons we're doing this. One - some of the game's best dialogue is squirrelled away in parts where your companions are solving puzzles for you, and also allows said companions a chance to not just stand there not helping. Two - for various reasons I'll explain later, many of this game's mechanics invalidate eachother, so there's astoundingly little penalty for playing on Easy.
Isn't Next Gen wonderful? Not only do we have voice acting and models instead of sprites, we have fully 3D environments to pan around!
Let's go right for the most conspicuous thing in here.
Is it an ATM?
Hmm. I see.
Then do you think the safe down here is stuffed with cash?
That would be nice.
Like, I donno, getting the hell out of here!
Well, you don't have to yell about it.
Let's poke it a bit more.
Yeah. Maybe it'll turn on if we do something.
And what would "something" be?
I have a hunch.
I think you can put things into these.
There are three of them...
I think they're probably for memory cards of some sort.
Tell me more.
I wonder why they're three different colors?
Well, I imagine you're supposed to put in cards that match, right?
So we need three cards of three different colors.
That there was a pretty good example of Easy Mode Dialogue.
Anyway, can we go back to the part where the safe was full of cash? That sounded worth looking into.
Yeah. I wonder what's inside...
Something someone wants to keep safe. What else do you put in a safe?
Well, what do you think it could be?
Okay... How about a tie deposit box?
A... A what? What does that even mean?!
Let's just try and open it.
I'm guessing that's how you open it.
Right. Let's give it a shot, then.
We can alternate between the moon, star and sun symbols (and empty) for each panel. So, only 4^9 possible combinations!
Nuts. We can either try the other 262143, or...
Well, of course not.
You're not going to get far just guessing.
We need to find a clue.
Alright, I guess we should probably start looking around a bit.
Did anyone think to try the door?
Damn. No good. Stupid thing won't even budge.
Trying to force it is pointless. We need to find another way out.
It sounds like she has something in mind.
Pretty sure that's not going to work...
Was that your "another way"?
Worth a shot.
Alright... Next most obvious approach.
Why'd it light up?
It didn't do anything earlier...
Maybe that was because the game hadn't started yet.
So you think this button does something?
Donno. Let's take another look at it.
You're the boss.
It's a rabbit! How many times do I have to tell you?!
You think there might be some kind of connection with that Zero III guy we just saw?
I dunno... Let's just keep on staring at it.
That's not scissors. That's a rabbit.
Hmm... I still don't quite get it...
Zero... the third...
Isn't there something kind of odd about these buttons?
Well, how many elevators have you seen with a "0" floor?
Do you think there's some kind of connection between that Zero guy and the "0" button?
Hm. Nothing. There has to be more to this elsewhere...
More buttons. And another symbol...
Yeah, looks like it.
Best be sure!
You don't sound sure.
I think we need a second opinion.
I wish I had one...
Wh-Whoa, what're you talking about?
It's just... Looking at this thing made me think about babies. I mean, it is a picture of a baby.
You like kids?
Yeah, I guess so.
There some guy you're planning on making some with?
H-Hey! No, there is not!
Make one what?
You stay away from me, all right?!
Don't even think about doing anything!
Yeah, of course... I was just joking.
Very wise. Amusing as that was, we're no closer to an answer...
But there's another set opposite the baby one...
Some repetition later...
No it doesn't!
What do you think this means?
Hell if I know.
It's just a bunch of pictures of... babies and old people.
Why don't you see if you can get it off the wall?
Let's do that.
There are four tabs in the File Screen. "File" is full of stuff we've found. "Help" is full of tutorial text we don't need. We'll get to the other two in due course.
O...kay? I count seven old people and four babies. Not sure how that helps, though.
Let's go and stare at the buttons again.
That's not very polite. You should just call them... old men or old women or something.
Whatever. Do you remember anything?
Yeah, that poster...
Well, look at this control panel...
What'd I just say?!
Fine, fine. Elderly ladies and gentlemen. Better?
At this point, the game starts reminding you to check the file screen. Let's take a hint.
We hit 7, and head over to the baby icon.
Sorry, another baby.
Stop screwing around and think.
Don't you remember seeing some babies?
Did you just hear a noise?
Gaaaaaah! Please don't do that without warning, game.
An item! The item system in VLR is entirely unchanged from 999. If anything, it's gotten worse, since they took out the handy shortcut for cycling through items without having to actually enter the item screen.
You'll never guess what she says if we examine it again.
(When hint dialogue isn't funny, I'll be skipping it.)
So, let's go do something with this.
As with 999, you can "equip" items to use them on stuff in the room.
So you do.
Let's see what happens when I put it in...
Looks like this thing is working now.
Let's poke it!
There are still two open slots.
Yeah, I know...
I just need to put in more cards, right?
Exactly. Hopefully, that'll make something happen.
Back to searching.
We never did get a good look here...
All of the bolts holding it on aren't really shaped like normal bolts...
Yeah, that seems kind of... significant, doesn't it?
Can you see anything in there?
Nope. Too dark.
Let's take a closer look at these bolts.
Yes, it's hexagonal and red. Good work.
Okay, what about the others?
Hmm... A pentagonal bolt, huh?
And it's green...
I think the other two look more interesting.
You don't see square bolts very often...
The color's not right, either... How many blue bolts have you seen?
That's a weird shape for a bolt...
Can you get it off?
Just leave it to me! There's nothing I can't get off!
Angle... try... Triangle...
I don't think that's all this bolt has to tell us.
It just doesn't make sense to me...
I mean, the typical love triangle only connects at a single point, right?
I just think maybe they should call it a love lambda...
What does that have to do with this bolt?
Then shut up and figure out how we're going to get these off.
Alright, let's keep l... hey... What's that?
Oh... Hey, this end is loose.
Can you take it off?
Sweet! I know just what to do with this.
Well, okay, that's good...
But what are you planning to do with it?
Take the bolt off, of course.
With just the handle?
Are you sure about this?
Fine. We keep looking. There's only one part of the room we haven't been all over yet...
...Although we might as well grab the rest of the handles. There's one of each end of each rail, and of course they come in four different colors.
Perhaps the fire extinguisher has a use?
Isn't that obvious?
It's here in case there's a fire.
Whoa, you're saying there's some sort of thing in here that'll start a fire?
It's not out of the question.
C'mon, don't do that. I won't be able to do anything if I think there's something in here that'll set us on fire.
I guess, but do you really want to be in a situation where you have to?
Also, I'm just saying... there were instructions on the fire extinguisher.
Yeah, but what it actually says seems... weird.
And not just because it doesn't actually explain how to use a fire extinguisher.
I'm pretty sure it's saying something like...
"Pull out the fire extinguisher pin and put it into the keyhole."
There's a fire extinguisher already out. Why bother with...
...wait. Then, what's in the case?
Let's see if this pin can open the lock.
Hm. Looks like it worked.
Okay, time to see what's inside.
There are a few pieces of metal in here.
Four of them... They look like sockets for socket wrenches.
Each one has a different shape, though.
Well, we might as well take them.
Four of these things are sequentially added to our inventory. Time to combine!
I'm sure you can imagine the details.
You can't get that bolt off with that wrench.
The handle's a totally different color, and the socket's--
I know, I know!
Man, you make one little mistake...
Okay, for real this time...
Ready? I'm gonna open it.
What're you asking me for?
Okay, okay, jeez...
It looks like some kind of maze.
Do you think we're supposed to solve this?
All right! I'm on it!
Well, let's give this a shot.
Minigames of this type tend to incorporate your Vita/3DS's tilt controls. That tends to do more harm than good, though, since they have a habit of activating accidentally and are a pain to use deliberately. Best to just stick to the ol' faithful D-Pad.
Man, you're an idiot. I'm pretty sure that's an elementary school-level maze...
If it's so easy, you do it!
...No! I can do it! I'll show you!
All right, fine.
You need to get the green block to the bottom there by moving the red blocks out of the way.
Sometimes, you just have to stop and backtrack, you know?
It's kinda like life.
Yeah, 'cause you've obviously got life all figured out...
*Sigh* Fine, you've forced my hand.
You should be able to figure out the rest.
H-Hey, come on, why don't you just tell me the whole thing?
Oh, I don't think so. I like watching you squirm.
Fine, but my safe word is "stop."
FUCK FUCK FUCK
God you're hopeless. I'm gonna give you a huge, huge, huge, huge, huge hint, all right?
That's pretty much the whole thing.
This is seriously a kid's puzzle, you know that, right?
Fine. Face the box, and do exactly what I tell you to do.
Right, up, right, down, left, down, right, down, left, up, left, up.
Once you've done that, it's just left, up, right. Then the green block goes to the bottom right.
Repeated failure on Easy mode culminates in being handheld through the solution like the disappointment you are.
Okay, one last time!
You sure did, Sigma.
You're pretty good.
Hmph. This is kid stuff. I could do it with my eyes closed.
Sure you could.
Oh, look at this...
Something came out of the box.
Oh yeah... Is this a... memory card?
Maybe it's some kind of password?
You got a notepad or something?
This is a filthy lie.
We can take notes whenever we want, right in the game! Not that we need to note these kinds of passwords, since they get recorded seperately anyway. Also, notes on the Vita version kinda suck, even though you can use three whole colors! Drawing with your finger is kinda hard. The 3DS only has one color, but gets to use the stylus, and can display notes on one screen while you input codes on the other, which is all kinds of handy.
Or you could use a pen and paper. Like, in real life. Just saying.
Then you'll just have to remember this.
You think you can handle that?
Y-Yeah, of course! I'm always remembering shit!
Let's go plug it in!
You did it! Good job!
Heh... Piece of cake.
Let's claim the loot.
Well, it sure isn't a pile of cash.
Awesome! Now hurry up and use it!
Alright, we've got ourselves a key, and I'm pretty sure I spotted a locked button on the control panel, so let's...
...hang on. Are we missing something?
(I can probably insert a third...)
Alright, it's time for another new game mechanic!
Each room has a hidden, optional puzzle. If you can find and solve it, you'll get... well.
Usually, these puzzles are some sort of second, cleverer solution to some other puzzle you've already solved. In this case, maybe it's...
(Well... if pushing the "0" for the "Zero" in "Zero III" got me this...
...what'll I get if I push the "3"?
I don't like the optional puzzles very much. They tend to be obtuse and arbitrary, and at the same time too easy. Some of them aren't so bad though.
It's right here!
Gaaaaah! Game, I told you not to do that when I'm not expecting it!
Well, we know the drill.
Hmm... A different password...
Hm. Maybe it has two types of passwords.
It has different stuff in it now.
Y-Yeah, you're right...
It's got a false back.
See? It can just flip around.
Kind of like those hidden passages in mansions and stuff.
So if you put in a different password, you get different stuff.
I think so.
Right, well, that's enough of that.
Grab the stuff.
Yeah. Let's just get out of here!
So. Let's talk about the hidden files.
First, they're your reward for solving the secret puzzles. But of course, you knew that.
Second, they're your difficulty-reward system. If you're still on Hard when you open the safe, you get a Gold File instead of a Silver File. They're the same, except Gold Files contain two additional entries. Said "entries" are info about... well, stuff in the game.
Here's the first dumb thing about the hidden files; safe passwords don't change. So once you finish a room on easy, it's trivial to redo the room later; you just go to the safe, get the file, and get out.
Here's the second dumb thing about the hidden files; they contain spoilers.
No, I'm not even fooling here. Real, actual, in-game fucking spoilers. They straight-up tell you important shit before you find out about it in the plot.
Let me give you a relatively harmless example.
(after I employ discontinuity to upgrade the Silver File we just got to Gold)
Here's this room's Gold File. It's in the Archive under "Secret" (and guess what's under "Pass"!).
Most of this is stuff I, as a responsible LPer, don't want you to know yet.
Let's look at that last entry.
And there it is. You're going to see this graffiti yourself soon enough, and the sentence construction will be almost immediately commented upon.
So WHY TELL US THIS NOW? What is the point of any of it? Some files, though spoilery, still at least expound on matters of interest and give you additional information, but much of it is just needless.
Honest advice: If you're playing the game yourself, don't read the Hidden Files until you've finished the game.
Alright, let's get out of here for real now.
You don't need to ask me every time you're going to do something. Just hurry it up.
Right, right, I know. Here goes...
Stop talking and do it.
Yes! it unlocked!
Hmm. So now we just have to open this panel...
Are you ready?
Just do it!
All right, all right, message received.
Here we go...
It opened a... hatch in the ceiling?
Why does an elevator have a ceiling hatch?
We sure did.