The Let's Play Archive

Zero Time Dilemma


Part 8: Suspicion (1 of 2)

Part 8: Suspicion (1 of 2)

Akane with a chainsaw was a big draw for people, so we'll start with the Pantry. Before that, I wanted to link in the prologue chapter which describes the days spent by the teams at Dcom prior to the events of this game. It's mostly re-affirming what we've already heard in the last few updates, but still a good read. It was included with pre-orders of the game, along with an artbook. Thanks to whitehelm for posting it!

So, Akane with a chainsaw.

The fragment structure is a little more complicated, but still just two branches.

Time to start the meat of the game! Let's go!

Music: CQD Ward BGM 2

This is...

The Pantry...

It's just after 18:00. We fell asleep after that vote at 13:30. Are we just waking up now? Or have there been more fragments in between?

He was already gone when I woke up...

The focus is on the foreground here as Akane walks through, looking for Junpei.

Carlos just watches her walk by.

We're locked in, so you probably know what's coming. Still have to deal with more before we get there, though.

Maybe now he's Zero's accomplice...

Not a bad first theory, actually. Junpei could be trying to get revenge on Akane for last year. But how would everyone else fit in?

The Junpei I know would never do something like that to us...

Akane still think Junpei is the same person from 999.


Missing Lip Animations: 8

You know, this's been on my mind for awhile...

The fact that Carlos is walking like a robot here should not be taken as evidence that Carlos is or is not a robot.

But what exactly is he to you, Akane?


Music: Morphogenetic Sorrow (Mix 3)

That's surprising.

But that's not exactly...

Junpei always said... I was a girl who "always said what shouldn't be said". I never found myself bullied or anything,

That pretty well describes the Junpei from 999, actually.

Yes. To me he is, at the very least...

There is at least one fragment where we find out what Junpei has been up to in the last year, but not in this one.

If it was because of me somehow...then this time I need to rush to his aid.

Akane is being a bit disingenuous here, but Carlos doesn't actually know that she was the one behind the events of a year ago.

My coworkers do always come to me with their stories though. So, I can tell.

We've devolved into a mild soap opera, now.

There is.

Ew, no, Akane,

Oh, a joke, right.

Right. I bet you're eager to see your dearest love as soon as you can.

Ah! Carlos!

Whatever. Let's get started with the first puzzle/escape room!

Music: Pantry

Finally, the game gets interactive! More so than choosing between two options, anyway. Let's start with a quick tour of the room.

Looks pretty typical for a pantry in a bomb shelter. Lots of boxes, a fridge, a microwave-looking thing, couple of doors. Something was a bit off about that fridge though.

The status screen just shows that we don't really know anything other than Carlos and Akane are alive, due to them being both present in the room.

Well to start, let's look at this device in front of us.

The game zooms in. There's a weird figure indentation here.


Is that hole really that fascinating?

In puzzle rooms, dialogue is neither voiced nor animated. You get these text boxes instead.

Did you bake heart-shaped cookies full of love for your darling Junpei?

Oh Carlos... Would you please stop teasing me...

A lot of the humor in the prior games was in the dialogue in the puzzle rooms. Some of the plot can get revealed in these as well.

Well, what's with this slider, then?

The man-shaped hole and the ON/OFF markers... What could this be?

The power seems to be off on this machine.

Doesn't the hole in this panel look like a gingerbread man? I wonder what it could be.

Clicking the same object multiple times sometimes gives different dialogue.

The power's off. And there's a gingerbread man-shaped hole on the control panel.

Let's move on and look at the door to the right.

Clicking again...

Brute force won't work on this thing. It won't open if we don't unlock it.

There's a password input device next to it. How about we try putting a number in?

Fair enough, let's look at that next.

Four digits... Okay, let's give it a shot.

Anybody have a favorite 4-digit number?

Hmm... I guess the number's wrong.

No luck. Guess we do this one the hard way.

Anything going on up here?

...What's wrong with the air duct, Carlos?

Nothing. I just thought maybe we could get out that way...

It's way too small, even for me.

...You're right. We'll have to think of another way.

Second click...

The air duct must connect to somewhere, but I don't think we can escape through it.

How about the boxes to the left of the machine?

If we get hungry we can come back here, but there's no need to do that now.

All of the darker boxes say the same thing after that.

There's preserved food in these boxes. We don't need them right now.

The one on the ground, however, looks a little different.

...Is that...?

Ahh! Th-This is a...!


There's really nothing else aside from the leg here...

Let's keep looking.


It's a fake right leg. Nothing else here.

Ok, fine, let's move on. To the right of the freezer door is the fridge.

Makes sense, let's try it out.

Nope, locked. I guess random button presses won't work.

Guess we're gonna need to find a clue here, too. Lots of interesting stuff in the fridge, but we can't get at any of it yet.

This glass door is locked. A bunch of green lines are all over it, too.

Something in between there, too.

There's an odd blue doll and what seems to be a right arm on the other side of the glass.

Ok, what about the right side?

I can see a bottle and a card on the other side of the glass.

This door is locked... And what's up with all these pink lines?

Second try--

There's a bottle and some sort of card inside.

How about the middle?

Looks like we need to unlock it from both sides.

Anything interesting on the ceiling?

I don't think anything's wrong with the light up there...

Junpei probably isn't hiding above it... Let's keep looking.

Ok, fine. What about this other light above the door?

This light's a little strong. My eyes hurt looking at it.

I'm guessing it was put here for better lighting. But yeah, a little too bright.

All right, fine, let's look at the door instead.

Zero wouldn't lock us in a place that'd be that easy to escape from. Let's keep looking.

I think that door leads back to the Lounge. Makes sense that Carlos would think he could break it down, being a firefighter. I'm gonna click it again.

A wooden door. It's locked.

Right, moving on.

Next up is a box in a cabinet.

Huh? What's this?

It's round... Maybe it's a knob for a machine?

The "round part" is automatically picked up, giving the first look at the inventory screen.

You can click+hold+drag to rotate the item around. Each item can also be examined for some extra dialogue. In this case:

A round, yellow part.

If you look closely, you can see a tiny triangle.

Maybe it's a machine part?

Second time:

A round, yellow piece with a small triangle on it.

Have we seen any machines? Okay this one almost doesn't count as a puzzle, but let's finish exploring the room.

First, there's more in the box. In addition to the potatoes, there's some writing which my color-blind self can barely make out. "L-door -->" and "<-- R-door". Also, notice the "round part" in the upper left. Clicking will attempt to use the selected inventory item, if appropriate, and be treated like a regular click otherwise.

You're right! Time to fire up the grill and--

Chow...down... On second thought, I don't feel much like eating while we're stuck here.

Another click, and...

You know, I remember doing a school science experiment with potatoes before...

Sometimes the extra click gets you a hint. We don't have the required item yet, though.

There's a bright something against the wall here but I think it's just decorative or something, I wasn't able to click on it. There are handles on the bottom of the cabinet that hint at sliding doors.

AH! This is...!

A left arm... Pretty sure it's fake.

Ooookay then. Anything else in here?

Is there a reason for that?

Hmm. Let's click the arm again.

A fake arm is attached to a bar and handcuffed.

Ok, how about the chain?

Damn, no use. It's locked on the wrist.

There's a spot for a key... Maybe there's one around here somewhere?

And again...

The handcuff isn't coming off. Let's find the key for it.

The bar?

The bar holding the arm in place is made of metal.

It's in here really good. I don't think we can take it off...

Trying again gets the game to tell us to move on.

The bar is locked in place. We can't remove it.

The door automatically closes when we're done. But there's still another side to examine.

Eeek! Th-This is...

A left leg? Is Zero trying to scare us?

Power to make gelatin.

Another inventory item.

Gelatin powder is mostly for baking, but it has uses in everyday cooking, too.

Oh Carlos, I didn't know you liked to cook!

My mom's the one. I've seen her use it in stew or pasta sometimes.

What a nice mother. I'm a little jealous.

It was a long time ago. But the memory is still so clear in my head.

Apparently I forgot to click that one a second time. Oh well. There's more in the cabinet.

What the hell, Zero... Putting something like that in here.

Right, let's keep going.

Oh..some crackers! These would go perfectly with tea.

The packaging makes them look good... But I can't say I have much of an appetite.

All the boxes here say the same thing.

The box here contains some crackers. Let's get together and eat some when we escape.

Another bright light with some more flavor text.

Okay, okay, I'll click on the poster.

If there's a recipe, then there's probably ingredients too.

Akane knows how these puzzle rooms work.

You should make some and give it to Junpei when we see him. "I made it just for you..."

No... I'm not bold enough to say something like that.

You kidnapped a bunch of people and tortured them to save yourself as a small child. You can drop the timid act.

That's too bad. A girl like you saying that would definitely capture his heart.

Right, so the poster itself. Ingredients are powder, water, and a mold - we've got one of those already. Pour the water into the mold, add the powder, and throw it in the strange machine, and voila! Instant gelatin.

This box up here is suspicious.

There's nothing we can use here.

Oh, fine.

The rest of the boxes yield the same line. Moving on, then.

It's very easy to miss, but there's another sliding door here. And you'll be stuck in this room at this point without it. I spent way too much time looking for this spot in my first playthrough.

Gah! What IS this?!

Is this...a torso?

Forget that, grab the bottle!

It says iodine solution.

Iodine solution in a bottle.

I remember being told as a kid to never put any of it in my mouth.

And the more you're told not to, the more you want to do it... Did you try it?

I WAS curious... But I knew a boy who did and he got severely reprimanded as a result.

Let me guess... Junpei? Man, that guy...

Ok, fine, I'll look at the torso.

Why would you think that, Akane. It's just a realistic fake.

...You're right. It couldn't be real.

But none of them are labeled. I wonder what they hold...


There's a lot of unlabeled cans here. No way to know what's inside.

Okay, that's the whole room. We have three items - a round part that looks like a dial, some powder but no mold to put it in, and a bottle of iodine.

Thing left in the room to interact with - a box with half-cut potatoes in it, an unknown machine with no power, a locked fridge, locked freezer, and a handcuffed arm.

We still don't have any way to unlock the locked things, so let's start with the potatoes.

I happen to already be holding the right item here.

Don't potatoes change when iodine solution is dropped on them?

Yes. The starch reacts with the iodine and turns purple.

D-U-D-L-L-R. Anyone familiar with video games before the analog stick should recognize a set of directional inputs. Now if only we had a lock that accepted directions as an input....

Oh, look! Letters appeared!

That must mean the experiment was successfull.

Clicking again--

It reads D U D L L R. I wonder what it means.

I have no idea... What about L-door and R-door?

Right, back to the fridge then.

Sure, let's try out our new code.

Huh. The letters on the potatoes were a hint after all.

I never would've imagined something I learned in grade school would help me now.

Stay in school, kids.

Okay, what do we have in here?

Wait, something's on the screen.

It's a rotating piece puzzle. I was pretty good at this one so you can watch me solve it in quadruple-time:

I'm glad we started with one of the easier puzzle rooms in the series.

Let's see what's in it... Some kind of mold?

Two of three gelatin ingredients acquired.

What is this exactly?

It kind of looks like a cookie cutter, but it has a bottom. Maybe it's for gelatin?

Gelatin, huh? I see...

Now for the lower shelf.

I doubt it's real, but that's no reason to keep looking at this creepy thing.

Selecting the handcuff chain--

The handcuff is locked.

There's a key hole here. We just need to unlock it with a key.

And another click!

The arm can't be removed, but we can take the doll.

And so we do.

Carlos, this blue doll... It feels cold.

It was in the refrigerator, of course it's cold.

It makes me think of those cold packs you use when you have a fever.

I doubt anyone would ever put that doll on their face, Akane.


A cold, blue doll. It feels so nice, I don't want to stop holding it.

Well, nothing more to do there. Let's try the other side of the fridge now. I'll just put in the code again, and--

It didn't work... Did we enter the pattern wrong?

Oh, right. Remember the writing on the box with the potatoes? "L-door -->" and "<-- R-door". That means the code reads from left-to-right for the left fridge door, and from right-to-left for the right fridge door. So if I put in the code backwards instead...


So the reaction to the iodine test on the potatoes WAS the hint for the door.

And now we can get to the things inside.

That's another area where a lot of players get stuck.

The right door is open now. Let's look at the bottom shelf first.

It's a bottle with water in it.

Hm, could be useful. Let's take it with us.

Yeah, considering we have a recipe whose only missing ingredient is water, seems like it could come in handy.

If you drink from it you gain superhuman powers and you can break down the door...

I wish that was true. Don't try it though. It might have poison inside.

I just thought it'd be nice to be the hero... But you're right.

I was wondering how they'd spice up a description of water, and I was not disappointed.

It shows a doll... Is it saying we should heat it up?

We've got our first quest file!

I guess we could try heating it up. Think we can get the machine working now?

No point to searching here anymore. We should look somewhere else.

Well, there is one more thing here. The writing on the left and right fridge doors has merged together. Can you make it out?

Left hand plus doll, huh...

Maybe this will make more sense later. We've seen a left-hand somewhere already (the arm in this fridge has the right hand, though). And we're holding a doll already. But just in case let's click it again.

Left hand plus doll... Hmm.

If it's supposed to be a math equation, shouldn't we change the words to numbers?

Keep that in mind for later.

The machine is next. It's got an indentation that looks suspiciously like a combination of our mold and our "round part".

You don't get a hint for it, since it's not really needed, but that T-shaped mark in the head of the figure there matches the back side of the "round part". It's also the only circular thing we've seen so might as well try it anyway.

This depression in the panel must be the power switch! Let's see if we can use it.

I kinda thought I'd have to more than that, but okay.

Well, now the power's on, but what's with the rest of this hole?

I don't know... Maybe our hand goes in?

...Nothing's happening. Just what is this for?


Is there anything that can fit in this tiny man-shaped hole?


It's just a little too big.

Never mind, that must be where the gelatin goes when we finish making it.

If you were wondering how we were going to make gelatin in a microwave, there's your answer. It can cool things, too. Even though there's a fridge across the room that does the same thing.

I don't think warming or cooling this will do anything...

That's the reaction to me trying to shove the empty mold in there.

The blue doll seems to work, though.

From the file we got, it's already blue = cool. So let's try to warm it up.

How about we try warming it up.

The door opens, nothing goes in, the machine hums for a bit, the door opens again, nothing comes out. Just...pretend that the doll went in and came out, okay?

Look at that... The color turned a pale pink.

He'd been trapped in that refrigerator so long that his skin turned blue.

I feel kinda bad for this little guy now...

I just realized that 'fridge' has a 'd' but 'refrigerator' does not. Weird. Anyway...

The doll is not only now pink, it has numbers on it! "1234" isn't the code by itself, but we do have half of the equation from the fridge doors now.

The doll turned pale. The number 1234 is on its stomach.

Look close. I'd thought it was ketchup, but it looks like it was written with blood.

Ketchup? Really?

You have to admit that it'd be pretty funny. Zero using ketchup to write this out.

Another function of the inventory screen is combining items. Pick an item, press "Combine", and then drag other items to combine with it into the center.

In this case, adding the bottle of water to the mold results in...

Yeah, descriptive name I guess.

Add the powder...

Anyway let's throw it in the microwave/flash-freezer.

Let's cool this down.

Two door openings later....

Oh! It turned solid. Now we have gelatin.

Indeed we do. No need for the mold anymore so we just toss it on the ground or something.

Wow! Carlos, Carlos! It's so jiggly!

It might look delicious, but there's no sugar in it. It won't taste good.

Well, you just ruined my appetite... Why is reality so cruel.

And so we do.

Huh? I heard a sound from below the machine.

Oh, look! The drawer at the bottom opened.

Huh? Hey, that's a...

A key. I wonder what it's for?

A key...

It's pretty small. What is it for?

I don't know... Let's try using it with every keyhole we find.

Not a lot of options left. But I do have two arms that are attached to two sets of handcuffs.

First, the right arm in the fridge.

Yes, it worked! We got the arm!

It's in a fist too... Oh! Does that mean...?!

No, I really don't think it wants to win at rock paper scissors...

We know what to do with cold things by now, right?

Let's unlock this one, too. Right side, bottom part of the cabinet, next to the door to the Lounge.

Maybe this is the key for the handcuff?

Yes! The arm has been freed!

5, 2, and..a 9?

Numbers representing the left hand, you say?

So, this spot is another common area to get stuck. Notice anything about those numbers? Let's click the hand again to make sure.

Hm, the number on the hand could be read upside down, too.

So the number is either 529 or 625.

Before we head for the freezer, I've got one more stop to make at the microwave.

Let's shove the cold right arm in there and warm it up!

Maybe if we heat this up something will change.

Uh..the hand, it...opened.

It got all warm and soft. Ugh, this whole gimmick is really gross...


It's a fake right arm. Heating it caused the hand to open.


...Did you just play rock paper scissors with it, Carlos?

Wh-What?! Like I would do something so...childish!

To the freezer!

Um, no, no it's not. It's exactly 10,000 combinations. All the numbers from 0000 to 9999. Come on, game.

If you didn't get the hint that the numbers on the hand might be upside-down, you might enter this answer. 1234+529 = 1763.

...Aaaand that was wrong.

A four digit number... Is there a hint in here?

And then the panic would set in here. What could I have missed, you might ask?

Luckily for you, you don't have to experience that kind of frustration here. 1234+625 = 1859. Wait, what did that unlock?

Yes, but it only opened the cover. We have another step.

Selecting the hand icon with no inventory--

It looks like a hand mark. Maybe it needs a palm print?

Let's see if my right hand will work.

Well, my hand isn't it. Want to give it a try, Akane?

It didn't work... My hand isn't the right one either.

Neither of our hands are right... Then whose hand is?


A right hand palm print... And it's not me or Carlos...

Another right hand... Something in this room, maybe?

Luckily we picked another one up already. If we hadn't put it in the microwave, it'd still be a closed fist and unusable here.

I wonder what's inside? Let's open the door.

Uh, what was that?

No... NO...

No way. You have GOT to be kidding me...

I'm guessing at the speaker of those lines - they're still not voiced.

Puzzle room solved!

I considered ending the update here for a few seconds and picking up the rest tomorrow. There's a no-joke 10-minute cut-scene coming up next. But I didn't want the angry mob coming after me. But it did get too big for one post, so the rest will follow in a minute.