The Let's Play Archive

Zero Time Dilemma


Part 19: Don't Press

Part 19: Don't Press

Pretty heavy interest in un-doing that last decision.

Although I think that was the shortest/quickest game over segment in the game, so it's a fair opinion.

Jumping back in!

The game really makes you think about it for a long time if you don't want to press the button. That's over 60 seconds on the clock at the start.

There's no way to know what will happen if you don't press it, right?!

Every ten seconds or so Sigma or Phi will chime in to try and talk you into their camp. But if you're waiting that long you're probably already committed to not pressing the button. Or you're like us and have already seen what happens when the button is pressed. No thanks.

Listen to me, Diana. Don't even think about touching it!

Zero's telling us not to push it! We need to do the opposite! Don't forget he's the enemy!

I've got a bad feeling about this... A really bad feeling...

The camera flashes and zooms in on the button every so often as well. And the camera starts shaking more and more the more time ticks away.

What if there's a bomb and this button turns off the timer?! If we don't push it then we're gonners for sure!

There is a bomb, and this button sets it off. You're not gonna sway us, Sigma.

The button looms large with only a few seconds left.

Don't press it Diana!

Push it! You have to push it!

You can't! You mustn't!

Push iiiiit!

That scene would've been more tense if we hadn't already seen that pushing the button blows up the whole shelter.

A beep and a click and the door slides open. We're free!

The door...

It opened...

Music: Clarification 2nd Mix

It opened because we didn't touch the button?

It's the only thing that makes sense.

Well, we kind of do know. I wonder if any of Phi's "bad feelings" were picking up on the bad timeline from pushing the button?

Um, anyway, we should go.

Music: Transient Tranquility

So the team leaves, and now we find ourselves in the Lounge.

Um Sigma? How old are you really?

It must be hard to keep track of birthdays when you're skipping around the multiverse.


You remember, right? I told you my consciousness came from 2074...

But that's more or less correct.

So, is it the same thing with Phi?

Yes, it's the same. She came back from the year 2074 too. With one difference: Her mind's still young.

She must still be around 20 years old...?

Eh, not exactly.

She was born in 2008.

Missing Lip Animations: 14

A device that is capable of placing someone into cold sleep.

There's forty-five years of blank...nothing stuck inside her mind.

So that's why she still thinks like a 20 year old...

I wonder if that feels any different. She's got a mind with twenty years of experiences, in a body that's twenty years old, but her mind actually took a nap for 45 years and then went back to the point just before it fell asleep.

How what?

How is it possible for you and Phi to come back to this time?

Missing Lip Animations: 15

I'm looking at Diana's spaced-out face here and thinking that this entire conversation is how I imagine it going whenever a VLR fan tries to explain the game to someone.

For example... Ah yes, we can use the button from earlier.

We didn't push that button, and we're here right now. However, there's a world where we did push it somewhere in this timespace. This world, this history, infinitely branches off as a result of momentary decisions. There are other yous, other mes, and other Phis. All of them exist in those different histories... SHIFT is the phenomenon which allows us to send our consciousness to them.

I may have skipped a few screenshots there to keep the whole speech together - it's just Sigma talking in front of a few background shots that we've already seen before.

So you want to know what it is exactly... I'll sum it up in one sentence.

Oh boy, we finally get the secret of how all this mystical consciousness-hopping works!

Music: Extreme Extrication 2nd Mix

This is the conclusion I reached after 45 years of consideration. I know how SHIFT works. But as to why the phenomenon happens--

Did you just say you know how SHIFT works?


How does it then?

Innate abilities, and danger to one's life. Basically, when a person with this ability faces a life-threatening crisis, that's when SHIFT kicks in.

And...both you and Phi have this strange ability?

One winter, my friends and I went fishing and I slipped, falling into the water. I woke up under the blankets on my bed... It was the next day. When I saw my friends at school, I asked them, "What happened yesterday?" One of them spoke up and said, "You blew us off. You promised to come fishing, but you up and cancelled on us."

Missing Lip Animations: 16

I was about to get run over by a car once, and found myself in the school gym. I fell off the roof only to wake up on the school bus. Things like that. Of course, at the time I had no idea what was going on. I just believed they were extremely vivid dreams. But now I know. I...

To another world. In another history...

I don't remember how many, if any, of these examples were also provided in VLR, but there you go, some of Sigma's backstory.

Silence, and fade to black.

Music: Glacial Solitude

She has been uncharacteristically quiet....

Huh? Oh, she's gone... I saw her over with Gab just a minute ago...

Still a half-hour of awake time left.

Oh lord, here comes trouble. It's computer lady again!

Hey, we managed to kill Eric again somehow, great job everyone!

[Computer Lady:] That is all.

FIRE is for Carlos, the firefighter. CRASH is for Akane, the leader of the Crash Keys group who infiltrated this place. FIVE is for Junpei, who had the number five on his bracelet during 999. And ICE must be for Eric, maybe because he worked in an ice cream shop. These are different X-Passes for some of the same people compared to what we saw in the Study fragment.

From the vote at 13:30...

Because of the outcome, the three in C-Team...

But wait, that's weird.

That's true, we did.

Didn't we?


Did I really vote for Q-Team...?

What are you saying...?

We weren't injected with the amnesia drug afterwards!

If the fragments weren't already confusing enough, we now have to confront the possibility that we're playing in timelines that we haven't even unlocked yet.

Wait. Hold on. There's another possibility. Maybe the three teams really did split the votes equally.

Well, that's what we tried to do.

But they're--

I know.

They could've gotten into a big argument and then killed each other...

C-Team seems pretty stable to me, that wouldn't happen, would it?

No... But why would they do that?

Still, can't we say the same thing goes for what you believe?

There's no evidence to support the idea that C-Team was executed.

Music: Consternation 2nd Mix

Creepy flashback/vision time...

Is that...C-Team getting executed? How?

What's wrong?

I'm pretty sure...there's no mistake. C-Team really was executed...

How do you know?

I know because...I just do.

Even if she was having memories slip in from somewhere, how would she have witnessed that?


Oh boy, here come the TVs again.

While we've seen Eric in that pose before, I don't believe that image is from the Study. I'll let you all try to figure out what room it is.

In Ward Q there's...

There's only Mira and...

Well, we already know some stuff about Mira. Too bad the image didn't show if his heart was intact.

And, the lights go out.


This doesn't seem like a blackout...

Music: Extreme Urgency (What Will You Decide?)

A mysterious figure in a black cloak.

Surely only here to wish us well in the game.

Footsteps as the figure approaches our duo.

The screen flashes white.

A-Are you all right, Sigma?!

No, I don't think he is...

If I go with you, I'd just slow you down.

Y-You're wounded...

The screen shakes, and there's the sound of a collision.

Where's she going to go?

We're treated to a shot of every room in Ward D as we look for Phi.

Finally, she's in the Healing Room. Where this whole fragment began.


Fade to black...

Music: Blue Bird Lamentation 2nd Mix



The me from the past...won't be coming back here... My SHIFT connection's been cut...

I'm sorry... Now you won't be born in this world...

I... I'm...!

No... Not just you, Luna. Kyle... Lagomorph... The others...

These are all references to VLR characters. If Sigma dies here, he won't be around to create the events of VLR. In particular, Sigma created a robot named Luna who shared the appearance of someone special to him....

But maybe it's better this way...

If we've gone off the rails that led us to VLR, maybe the virus won't get released and six billion people won't die to it?


Diana, I know this is difficult... It might be affecting me even more than you...

But it's dangerous to stay here... We have no idea when the killer will return.

Who is the killer...? It should only be the two of us now in Ward D...

Zero must've hidden himself away some--

Is there...really...anywhere to hide...?

Wait... You don't really think it was me, do you...?

Phi takes a step forward...

I feel like it's a good thing that there's no chainsaw in this scene. Well, good for these characters, at least.

Hey wait! Diana!

Music: Solitary Snail

Fade to black, then we come back to a dark scene.

Why would Phi kill Sigma...?

The door suddenly opens.

Has Phi come to finish off Diana, too?

Slow footsteps.

A thump as Phi hits the floor. So they can do falling animations!

Music: Confession 2nd Mix


No, I don't think so... It wasn't Zero...

Then who?!

You have to escape here, Diana... If I can...

You can't die!

Have you been keeping count?

I... I...

It's okay... As long as you survive...

Why... Why did this...

Such a...familiar...smell...


Diana now stands in front of the scoreboard, waiting for the inevitable update.

[Computer Lady:] Q-Team: Eric

Scoreboard is now updated.

[Computer Lady:] These six are now deceased.

[Computer Lady:] That is all.

DAD for Sigma, which is interesting because as far as we know he was never directly a father. Though he did create Luna the robot, the Lagomorph the AI, and Kyle the clone. I think he acted as a father figure for Kyle, at least. TIME is for Phi which makes as much sense as anything for her. These announcements are not in the same order as on the scoreboard or the status screen for some reason.

Diana slowly surveys the scoreboard.


If I put these in...

Once again, you can go check the log if you've forgotten these already, or weren't paying attention. But they do have to be manually entered.

The X-Door finishes opening with a thud.

Diana and Gab ready to go through the door. Somehow Gab always shows up for these.

The door doesn't stay open long, Diana, go through--


Something falls.

Music: Sacrificial Demise (Demise 2nd Mix)

Oh, Diana.

And the killer walks free.

The X-Door slowly closes as the screen fades to black, then thuds shut.

We learned a bit of background, but ultimately both paths in this fragment lead to a game over.

But hey at least we fully completed our first fragment?

Completed fragments get a little border around them.

We've completed a fragment for each team now. Let's take a (limited) look at the global flowchart.

As we saw during the Study room, it follows immediately from the "Carlos's Decision" node of the Pantry fragment. In both of these fragments, D-Team is killed by the time the casualties are announced, but it's not revealed how or why yet.

The fragment we just played is off on a different branch, not connected to anything we've seen yet. The only thing we know about this branch, is that C-Team was (likely) executed, and somehow Eric dies again.

Anyway we're back at square one. We've completed the Healing Room, but there are still 11 new fragments to explore and 3 replays available. Select the story fragment.