The Let's Play Archive

Zero Time Dilemma


Part 12: Triangle

Part 12: Triangle

A crossbow is no chainsaw but it was still too irresistible to pass up here.

Lots of ways this one could go, it seems.

Music: Riddle and Puzzle 2nd Mix

Q-Team starts off this fragment in the Lounge.

Eric walks almost as badly as Carlos.

Hmm, 18:10...

Same time as C-Team in the Pantry.

We already searched through each one when we first woke up. Nothing...

There was that one room we couldn't figure out how to get into...

Each team remembers their Execution fragments.

Eric yells from somewhere off-screen.

Let's go!

Music: Sinisterness Phase 2


I was tapping spots on the wall in the hallway when--

You opened some kind of secret door.

Eric's being useful. This is the darkest timeline.

A flashback, and an unknown voice speaks:

I-I dunno...

Do to read?

Yeah I don't know what to make of that, either.

Eric walks across the room.

Mira walking.

Who...? The only one who can wander freely would be...

Right. It's got to be Zero.

Something about who Zero is, or how to get out of this crazy place...

If anything was hidden in here...

Those safes would be the best bet.

We're not actually trapped in this room, but I guess we are searching the room looking for a way out of the game in general.

Music: Unliberated Library (Pantry 2nd Mix)

Welcome to the Study. As Mira pointed out, there are a lot of safes. And unlike most of these puzzle rooms, our goal is to seek out information, not escape the room.

The desk in front of us has a lot of stuff on it, let's start there. How about this lamp?

It's a simple desk lamp... Nothing special about it.

Ok, anything else?

It's a normal desk lamp.

Next - a bottle next to the lamp.

Why--! Hey, I'm not that clumsy--WHOA! Th-That was close...

Second time--

It's a bottle of ink. Uh, let's not spill it.

There's no trace of it ever being used. Maybe the room's owner doesn't smoke?


It's an ashtray. There are no cigarette butts or ashes in it.

If we can't read it then we may as well look elsewhere.


The words are all blurry so we can't read it.

Enough of the boring stuff, let's check out what's right in front of us.

Is this Zero's collection? I can't say I understand his taste...

They look decorative... Maybe they mean something?

And again.

Are these four figures just decoration...?

Okay from now on I'm only going to show the later clicks on stuff if it's interesting, funny, or new information. There's only so many ways I can say "And then I clicked on it again to see what would happen", and they're not paying off so far.

I can't say I've ever even seen one. Some of the things in this study are so old fashioned.

I'd say let's keep looking, but that mountain of books makes me tired already.

Well the surface of the desk was disappointing, let's see if we can find anything in the drawers.

Maybe it can open up one of the safes here.

That's not the one I clicked on, but okay.

This key has a human mark on it.

A human... I wonder what it means.

Trying a different drawer just gets these messages:

Let's look here again.

...There's nothing left, and the other drawer is locked. Let's keep looking around.

Whoever's room this is must sit here doing work...

It's almost as if someone was just here...

Someone? We're the only ones in this ward. The only person left would be...

...Anyway, I don't think anything here on the desk is important.

Starting to feel like Eric figuring out how to get in here wasn't an accident.

Let's start looking around the edges of the room now. Starting with that first safe in the background.

What does it mean? ...Damn, of course it's locked.

If there's a spot for a key then we should go find one first.

Reasonable strategy. Except we already found the key for this one. I'll open it up after we've finished exploring.

Hey, how about we search the room instead of leaving.

It's got a keyboard...that's not responding. I bet the power isn't on.

I don't see a power switch anywhere...

Hmm. Let's look around.

Let's look at the large safe in the background here next.

These cracks are pretty big... Maybe we can just break it open?

How, exactly? It's not a piggy bank.

Don't tell me you plan on reading everything here. We don't have the time, remember?

Why are you so happy? Do you like reading that much?

Ah... Yes. I guess so. I must've liked books even before I lost my memories...

Continuing right around the edge of the room, we run into another chair.

It's just a chair...isn't it?

That object is in the way if we want to sit down.

It's a cryptex. It opens with a specific set of letters.

We have to match four, huh... Let's try?

Yeah random guessing won't work here.

Hmm, I don't know what it would be.

Why don't we try everything? It's just four letters.

Geez... You do know how many combinations there are, right Eric? Are you stupid?

I'm... I'm not stupid... Or that...stupid... Uh huuh huuh...

What a happy couple.

Next up is another safe.

And it's locked, as expected...

Looks like we need a letter combination to open it.

Selecting the letters allows us to try and open it...

Maybe the correct set of letters will open it.

Five letters... Okay, let's do this.

Hmm not going to be able to guess at this one, either.

Hmm... I don't know what would work.

I got an idea! Punch in all the five letter words you can think of!

We don't have time for that, idiot. Besides, who says it has to be an actual word?

Ah, oh... I-I'm sorry. I didn't really think.

Man I hope we never get stuck in a room with just Eric.

Maybe Zero just likes collecting them?

I wonder about that. I get the feeling there's a meaning to them...

There's a fire in the fireplace... Oh, I know! We can climb the chimney and get out of here!

There's no way it's that simple. We wouldn't be going through all this if it was.

Y-You're right... I'm sorry I got excited...

Second time--

It's a fireplace. There's nothing special about it besides the fact that there's a fire.

The chimney isn't connected to the surface, is it. So Santa can't get in this way.

Above the fireplace is this interesting work of art. You might recognize some of these portraits from the status screen at the end of the Suspicion update, which showed them for the characters confirmed to be dead in that fragment. Now we get to see the whole set.

Those? Aren't they catgirls for male fantas--

Oh, I know! I think it's called "moe"! Akane is so cute!

That's it!

This is a doll made of bisque porcelain. Ah, so this is Diana.

So this is Sigma... Does this mean he's got a strong jaw since it's a nutcracker?

Th-This is Junpei? He's kind of scary...

So this is Phi. She's a posable paper doll... Does that mean she's thin?

So this is Carlos. He looks strong.

Now that the portraits are done, let's look at the safe next to them.

Oh, right, I'm still holding the human-marked key. Let's put that away, first.

There's a star mark on this safe.

And it's locked, as expected...

We know there's a spot for a key, so let's find it.

On the last wall is yet another safe, the largest one yet.

Maybe Zero's hiding in there.

Ha ha, that's hilarious, Mira! ...Huh? It was a joke, right? No, it couldn't be possible...

It's so...big. We'll definitely know the key for this when we see it.

Nothing else on this level but we can go upstairs to the landing.

There's a short path to either side of the stairs, here.

You can see farther up into the library, too.

This is no time to wax poetic. Let's search the room.

To the left, yet more books. And something on the ground.

Another quest file! Right hand over chest means "confirm", crouching means "deny" or "opposite". Have we seen one of these dolls in these poses yet?

To the right of the stairs, the final safe.

Didn't we just see a piece of paper related to the figures? Let's check it again.

No need. It's a little hard to see here, but it's "confirm".

And, of course. It's locked...

It looks like we need a set of letters.

Only three letters... Okay, let's do this.

Looks a lot like the other safe with letter inputs. Only with a moon symbol instead of a circle. Let's go back.

Huh. I don't know what to put in.

And it's not like we can just put something in randomly. We only have so much time...

Ugh. That's true...

And that's the Study! The only item we have is the human-marked key. This room is actually pretty linear - there's only one item lying around for the taking, and each safe leads to unlocking another safe.

So let's go unlock the human-marked safe.

Yeah, it opened!

Good job. Now to see what's inside.

We automatically grab the contents of each safe.

The letter D is engraved on it.

It means you're my darling...

We'll collect a bunch of these as we go. Eric has an insufferable line for each one.

Where did we see the star mark before?

Well, I know what safe we're going to next.

D-Doesn't the recoil knock you over?

That's the common thought, but if you use the correct stance it's not a problem.

I-I see... You two sure know a lot about guns.

I'm uncomfortable with weaponry being here, after the last puzzle room.

The last item in the safe is a file showing the password for the cryptex cylinder thing with the bird-man symbol on it.

The star safe is all the way across the room.

Time to check what's inside.

The safe opens with the same animation as before. More loot!

The letter C is engraved on it. What does it mean?

It means you're a cutie full of charms!

First is another mysterious part.

Next is another file, showing the probable password for the moon safe.

The last item in the safe is a file with some kind of code on it. We'll just have to remember that one for later.

The moon safe is upstairs, so let's head back up there.

The doll with the "confirm" pose means we probably just enter the password from the file as-is.

We have to click and drag the dials up and down to set the letters, but "NIL" works!

Yay! It opened!

Let's see what's inside.

I feel like Eric shouldn't be let anywhere near a weapon.

The letter E is engraved on it.

Yes, Mira! You make me feel excited...!

Does that mean it's good for assassinations?

D-Don't say scary things like that...

The moon safe also contains the password for the circle safe. Like links in a chain....

We got a piece of paper related to this figure, didn't we? We should check it again.

Back downstairs at the sun safe. We didn't know this doll's meaning before, but a quick check of the file shows that it means "deny" or "opposite".

It's a good thing the file explicitly said that "EXIST" is the opposite of "NIL" because that doesn't really make sense. Maybe it made more sense in Japenese?

Yes! A successfull unlock!

Awesome! Now we can open the safe!

Let's see what's inside.

Can't say that looks like treasure to me.

Oh, hey, not just a stash of items this time.

The letter F is engraved on it.

You're soft like a feather in my arms...

There's still another mystery part, though.

So, this thing. We need to actually click on it, or we're stuck here. Mildly unfair when everything else has been handed to you once the safe was opened, but at least the game pointed out that it was unusual.

What's this lever?

It's hidden away in this safe, so my bet is it's for something important!

Really... Then let's pull it.

The lever is pulled down....

It's hard to see in a screenshot or even in video, but there's a sound of something turning on while the camera is focused on the weird chair here. So that's our next destination.

If you missed it, you can go back to the lever and click on it again to get an explanation.

How strange. And it seems like that's the only thing it does.

You can see the side of the chair is glowing a bit better from this angle. Let's click on the keyboard now.

Oh, I think the power's on now.

What's the keyboard for?

Let's try putting something in.

It was a couple of safes ago, but do you remember getting a file with some kind of code on it? Let's try putting it in here.

Yay! I knew this code would go here!

So, now what?

Yeah, for some reason the chair brings you to the book instead of the other way around. Weird.

H-Hey! You okay?! That chair startled me when it went up so suddenly...

Yeah, it scared me, too... You were worried about me, Eric?

N-No, I wasn't! ...What was up there anyway?

Oh yeah. I think the number we put in is probably a book's number.

...I see. Entering the correct code makes the chair go up to get the corresponding book.

So we were lucky this time and got the right number. What book did you get?

Uh, it's more a piece of paper than a book...

I don't know why Eric/the game thinks we got lucky, I just used the number from the file.

Now we finally have the information needed to decode the dolls on the desk. These poses and the password for the bird-man cylinder are the next pieces to put together.

I use the Memo feature for the first time to note what each doll's pose translates to in terms of how many spaces to move down.

Here's the file for the bird-man password, again.

Back to the cylinder.

Entering the password as-is doesn't work.

Huh, it's wrong...

Wait, didn't we see that same bird mark somewhere?

Yeah, we got that card with the same mark. Think they're connected?

Yes that's why I put in what's on the card!

That text is actually just the generic second-failure script. I guess it didn't check what I specifically entered. Trying again...

Huh, it's wrong... I do think that bird mark is connected though.

The card has four letters, but it doesn't make any sense...

Speaking of sets of four, do you think the four figures on the table are related at all?

So there's your hint for that puzzle.

Back to the memo. 5-3-7-5 is how far down to move each dial. H-F-G-Y is the starting point. Moving 5 down from H gives M, and so on, until you get M-I-N-D. (For the last letter, the "Y" wraps around back to the beginning, as you can see in the image.)

I know I made light of it in the last puzzle room, but the memo feature is actually pretty robust. There are three different colors in case you want to draw something more complicated (we'll have at least one of those later), and there are actually two pages so you can save long-term information on one page and solve puzzles on the other.

Back to the puzzle. Let's put in the solution and see what comes out of it this time.

I knew this was the right answer!

The letter B is engraved on it...

It's gotta mean you're so beautiful!

There's also a note with a hint for where to go next. We have a gun and a crossbow, where should we use them?

So how about we shoot them?

I know they're just pictures of dolls, still feels kind of wrong.

Yup, the portraits. After the last fragment, shooting C-Team sounds pretty fun.

We followed the note and put bullets to C-Team. I guess arrows are up next?

Guess so. Let's equip the crossbow and pick out a target....

The note we found said "Arrow to Q-Team", right?

Meaning we need to shoot our pictures with the crossbow.

Hold on a second... It still feels really weird even if it is just pictures...

Yeah! I think we did it!

Shooting pictures of us as dolls feels worse than I thought it would...

We finished, so don't dwell on it. Come on, look. There's something behind it.

I think I know the feeling. Blowing a huge hole in the wall just feels good, you know?

I-I'm sure it's fun, but...please control yourselves, okay?

This little item is actually our next key.

There's also new dialogue for the portraits now.

Aw, the Akane doll has a hole in it... What a shame, it's so cute.

That Junpei doll is so beaten up and shot... I feel pretty sorry for this thing.

There's an arrow in my doll... Dammit, I hope this doesn't become a reality...

An arrow is stuck in my doll. Well, it's not that big of a deal to me.

The Diana doll. I'm glad we don't have to shoot it.

I'm glad we don't have to shoot the Phi doll. Wish I could say the same for mine...

The Sigma doll. We don't need to shoot it.

Remember the safe in the corner with the cracked glass and no keyhole? Me either, but let's blow it up!

H-Hold on a second! We'll be in pieces too if you fire that thing here!

He's right. We don't even know how much firepower it has.

Then how about we shoot it from the second floor. Come on, that's gotta be far enough!

We're taken upstairs automatically....


W-Wait we haven't checked to see if it's really safe--

Oh my God... I didn't think it'd be that powerful...

That's why I said to wait! We're just lucky we're all okay this time.

Ah, I think the door broke open. Everything is fine, so let's just go back downstairs.

Whoa... It really is in pieces.

Let's see what's inside. And hope nothing's broken.

Good thing Eric's aim was good and the explosion somehow only affected the safe door....

We have to go pick up the pieces ourselves.

It must be important somehow since they were locked in the safe.

Hey, there's something else in here.

That pose is the "seven down" one.

The letter A is engraved on it. What does it mean?

I think it means you're adorable!

That's the last one of those. But what do we do with them?

Another code for the chair-lift. Guess that's our next stop.

You shift the letter according to the pose. Child's play.

Geez, Eric. You make it sound like you knew how to solve it from the beginning.

Made a quick stop to look at the dolls on the desk again.

Easy, still have the code right here.

There's an error sound, and nothing happens.

That's strange... I put J-05-03 in right...didn't I?

Hey, didn't we find a note in that safe we blew up?

Huh? You know what, there WAS something else in there...

Right, the dolls. Let's add seven to each of the inputs and see what happens.

Oh, it worked!

Have a safe trip! ...Just kidding.

Make sure you get whatever's there!

It's either the same animation as last time or close enough that I can't tell the difference.

Woo... That was scary. I almost fell out of the chair...

I don't really see a need to have this device though. Why not just move the books?

That's what I was saying!

I know, that Zero's super weird, right? ...So, what did you get?

Oh, this...

This blueprint finally tells us what to do with all of those parts we've been collecting. It wouldn't be hard to brute-force this puzzle, but the last part was in the last safe, anyway.

So, let's do some combining...

I can kinda sorta see some kind of shape now... It's all thanks to the power of my love.



So...what is this thing?

Maybe it's a key...? Even if it is, it's way too big.

Well, the last thing left in the room is the giant safe with the giant keyhole.

I hope we can find clues to who Zero is this time.

Something awesome has to be inside a huge safe like this!

Yay, it opened! ...H-Huh?

The last fragment has me nervous. Solving these rooms doesn't feel like something we get rewarded for anymore.

Music: Bereavement

Uh, what does "KILL ONE" mean...?

It must mean we have to kill someone...

We have to...?

There's a sound of a TV turning on.

I don't remember that being there. (Above the portraits.) Guess I just never looked up - I did go back and confirm it was there the whole time. There's even dialogue for it:

It's a monitor, right? Nothing's on it. Is it supposed to show game scores?

What the...?

That's the Pantry....

Is that...

Missing Lip Animations: 10


Oh. Oh, no.

So it looks like we're in the same timeline as the Pantry; in particular, the "Carlos's Decision" scene from two updates ago. Why is that important? Well....


Did Carlos just...kill himself...?

I think so...

But why...?

A chime, and the computer lady speaks up again.

[Computer Lady:] That is all.

It's the same set as in the Pantry update, plus "FIGHT" for Carlos (the firefighter).

So, what do you think "KILL ONE" means now?

The execution.

Remember that in this scenario, C-Team followed the plan and Q-Team betrayed it, executing D-Team.

Well, the reason why isn't the issue.

In other words--

If one more person dies...

Good thing we have a lot of weapons handy?

Music: Strain 2nd Mix

Footsteps as everyone runs over to the desk.

I went down an internet rabbit hole trying to find out if the term "Mexican Standoff" was considered racist and if there was an alternative, and came up with "maybe" and "not really". The fragment title of "Triangle" is probably the closest I can get to an alternative that makes sense.

Anyway, look at the image above and draw your own conclusions.

Edit: The name of the decision node in the fragment flowchart is "3-Way Standoff", not sure why I didn't think of that one myself.

Hey guys... We should...stay calm now...

Put yours down first!

Wh-What're you saying, Eric?


Look over there!

Wh-Why Mira...?

Um, Eric? This will be hard for you to hear, but...

I think you...might be mistaken about that...

You're lying!

No, it's not what it looks like, Eric!

Mira... know what you need to do, right?

I have this gun pointed at him so that I can protect you, of course.

If I drop my weapon, then Eric will...

If I put this down, you'll definitely kill Mira...

Missing Lip Animations: 11

Whatever you call it, the classical definition of this scenario is actually a game theory topic. In a normal duel, the winner is whoever fires first. But here, whoever fires first is going to be shot by the third particpant, so the winner is whoever fires second. Thus resulting in a conflict where no one wants to act first. By similar logic, no one is able to safely retreat (lower their weapon), either.

Of course, that scenario also assumes there can be only one winner. Here we actually only need one loser....

What proof do I have that you won't up and fire that thing?!

Music: Dcom (The Beginning)

There's a fade to black, but when we come back we're still stuck in the same situation.

We aren't getting anywhere like this...

If just one more person dies...

One more person...

One more. Just one more...

Here comes the heartbeat.

Music: Tough Decision (Make Your Choice)

Oh, good, more text entry.

A quick break to look at the status screen. Akane's portrait shows up with here alive this time, not sure why. You can see how the other portraits differ with the characters dead, from what we saw in the puzzle room.

So, we only need to kill one, right? Let's try Akane.

Well, crap. Here are some other invalid answers:

Here are your real options. "Eric" and "Mira" are valid, of course. There's also a "do nothing" option, by entering "No one", that is a little tricky to think of but I'll give it to you for free. And there's a fourth option we haven't figured out yet.

So, who will you kill?