The Let's Play Archive

Zero Time Dilemma


Part 23: Fire

Part 23: Fire

Somewhat close, but it's time to take D-Team through another puzzle room.

For the first time, we see a fragment that looks like it has two decisions in it. And I'm suspicious of that revolver given what we went through in the Study...

Well, let's get started then.

Music: Sinisterness Phase 1

This room is...

The Trash Disposal Room. Isn't that what it's called on the map?

D-Team wakes up at 18:00. Again. Just like the Healing Room. And every other puzzle room fragment we've seen.

Looks like D-Team is already missing one of its members.

Missing Lip Animations: 19

Maybe she managed to get out of this room.

Do you think we can?

It opened... Sigma! It opened!

Another room where we're not actually locked in. Which just means we'll be given some other incentive to stick around...

Er, um, well, I didn't really expect it to, so...

As far as we know, D-Team's only remembered experience so far is the Execution fragment, where they had free reign to wander the whole ward. So Diana being surprised that the door opens is a little odd, here. Sigma being chill about it is just as unexpected, given his background with VLR.

A few knocks can be heard here.

Sigma and Diana turn towards the source of the knocks, then run over.


What the hell are you doing in there?!

I'm locked in here!


This is where I was when I woke up! Stuck inside this incinerator!

A slow pan from Phi at the window...

To the incinerator flame jets.

Sigma tugs on the door a couple of times, to no avail.

I don't see one. Probably an electronic lock.

The familiar chime, and computer lady has a new line.

[Computer Lady:] Incineration in...thirty minutes.

No one's real happy about that news.

Music: Strain 2nd Mix

Stay calm!

Either stop the incinerator startup...

Or unlock the door...

Okay, I'll see if I can do anything on this side!

I'm counting on you!

I'd like to avoid the worst sunburn of my life in here!

Let's hurry!


This time we're not trying to leave the Trash Disposal Room itself, just trying to find a way out of the incinerator for Phi. Still works!

Music: Trash Disposal Room

Not a lot to see in here other than the control panel itself. There are only a handful of other interactive items.

Is this a thermometer? It must measure the temperature inside the incinerator...

Is that a coin at the base of the needle...? Why would it be there?

Only two things are actually clickable on this panel. There's the arrow gauge / thermometer here.

I wonder what it's for?

Maybe getting the correct combination will stop the incineration... Ah, not likely.

But it's still worth a shot to see if it does.

And a slider for inputting a three-letter combination right next to it.

Drag the sliders down to change the letters at the top. There's no "check" button so I guess it automatically solves as soon as you hit the right combination.

Hmm... Well, that was wrong...

I don't think we have all the information. We need to find a clue first...

I don't think we can use our hands to open this... But Phi should see better once it is.

You can see I'm just fine. The stench from the trash pile in the back is gagging me though.

Thank God... We need to get you out quick... Have you found anything helpful over there?

Nothing yet. It's too dark to look around. Can you see if you can make it brighter in here?

Okay, got it. We'll see what we can do.

Step 1 for this room: Figure out how to open the shutters.

What's this thing next to the window?

...Is this a gas torch?

Seems like you answered your own question there, Diana.

This makes me want to sear some meat or fish...

If we make it out safely, I definitely want to eat something nice.

Next up is the door to the incinerator.

This door connects to the incinerator, right? If we can open it, then Phi can...

Throwaway line for the lights again.

Weird spot on the floor here.

Maybe it's a trap?

...We better not stand on it if we can help it.

Next up is this spot on the wall.

Hmm, looks like it. There are four screws holding the cover in place.

Now for this odd pillar.

Hm, if it does then that's one less thing to worry about. Let's find the key that fits this.

We'd definitely feel calmer once Phi is safe. Wait a second... Isn't this keyhole too big?

No way we're abandoning Phi! We have to stop the process or open the incinerator door!

We're not locked in, but we can't leave.

There's a weird poster next to the door.

We could put Phi under the-- Gah, this is no time for jokes!

...Let's just hurry and save her.

The far corner has a set of lockers, and something hanging from the light.

That's... I think it's a revolver. If it's real, maybe we can use it for something.

But we can't reach it from here.

Right. And even if we got to it, there's a padlock on it. Hmm, what should we do...

We ignore it for now, is what we do. There sure is a lot of weaponry in the puzzle rooms in this game.

So let's open up the lockers next.

They're not locked, which is a minor miracle. First up, a pair of goggles of some kind.

Why not try it on? You might look good.

If you think complimenting everything a woman wears is okay, you're very wrong, sir.

That comment seemed rather innocent, but Sigma's also a horny old man trapped in a body with the hormone levels of a college student.

You may notice there's a color filter over everything while we have the goggles selected. Basically, we're wearing them and they're changing what we're seeing as a result.

I'll put them on in a bit, let's finish exploring the room first.

And the tool to open it is INSIDE the box... Damn you, Zero.

That's all for the lockers. Nice that the game outright tells you to stop wasting your time clicking on every little pixel.

There's one more thing back in this corner to check out.

If it is, do you think it's connected to the inside of the incinerator?

Possibly, but it looks like it's locked...

Oh, I think we can input some numbers here.

Step 2 for this room: Unlock the dust chute.

Drag and click the dials to set the numbers.

U-Um... Guessing won't work, I suppose.

We don't have enough information yet. Let's look for a hint.

The other panel, next to the dust chute, doesn't have anything interactive on it.

That's the whole room. The locked toolbox isn't going to do us any good. And the gas torch seems like it might be useful later but doesn't work on anything in here right now.

I hope you saw that the screen changed colors after the mask was picked up, otherwise you might not realize it needed to be selected to be "put on", here.

The first thing we see is some kind of additional graphic on the dust chute.

What are they?

Um... A screwdriver and two screws, I think.

Maybe it's some sort of clue. Let's take note of it.

Don't know how these relate to a numeric code yet. That's why it's Step 2, not Step 1.

Looking around the room, the only other object that appears to show a difference is the poster. The letters "tic" are circled on the poster, and also show up in a pop-out window.

...Huh? Where?

Right here. The "tic" in "plastic" is circled and in big letters.

Ah, you must be able to see that because of the goggles you have on.

I think you call this...augmented reality? But why do only these letters appear?

Gee, is there anywhere we might want to input three letters?

Back to the something-o-meter!

I think the letters can be changed on this meter.

Yeah, it looks like we need to use the sliders.

Three letters... I feel like I just saw them somewhere.

Er, this SHOULD be the right answer...

And the shutter comes down. Step 1 complete!

I did it!

Now that I can see in here, I'll try to look for something useful.

Damn you, Zero. She looks so nervous locked in a place like that! I have to get her out!

Right! We have to either find her a way out or stop the incineration process!

Hey, uh, I can't really hear you guys, but could you get your butts moving and do something?!

I probably should have taken the goggles off. Anyway, here's another spot where people tend to get stuck - trying to figure out how to switch to Phi and explore the inside of the incinerator.

The key is to click on the window.

How are you doing over there, Phi?

Phi responds, and we switch to her perspective. It's a nod to a similar room in VLR, with multiple characters isolated to different parts of the room and having to switch between them.

I don't see a keyhole, so it has to be electronically locked.

But it's better that I'm the only one who got locked in.

Diana... Sigma.. I'm counting on you guys.

Phi talks to herself a bit in here.

...Here's hoping that doesn't end up being me.

The dust chute indeed does lead into the incinerator, but it's a one-way trip.

Not sure where that would lead, anyway. Maybe an air vent?

Maybe there's something I can hide in or behind if the incineration starts up...

...Yeah, I didn't think so.

I know, maybe if I stuff the trash into the furnace... Dammit, it stinks to high heaven!

I need to stop firing myself up or else I really will be...

...Stay calm, Phi.

Huh, something's screwed on here.

There's an object sitting in the furnace nozzle that sparkles a bit to stand out more.

It's just a tool for taking screws off.

Phi has her own inventory here, of course.

Before we take the obvious step of using the screwdriver on the screws, let's finish exploring.

It must be pretty sensitive.

In case you forget, the description of the item is also updated with the measured weight/mass.

I should keep in mind what temperature it's going to be when the incineration starts...

It's not the heat that kills you, it's the humidity. And the fire.

...May as well take it off.

That's it for this room. Let's see what this screwdriver can do!

...I'll hold on to the screws just in case.

Two screws I removed from the wall... Maybe I can use them for something?

Sigma! How much do you weigh?

HUH? What's with this all the sudden... How much do YOU weigh?

Call HR, this is sexual harassment, old man. Just answer. Is it 188 pounds?

Yeah, more or less... How'd you know?

Is it a coincidence it says that? No, it can't be. It must be part of Zero's plan...

Might as well.

Very sensitive scale in the incinerator for some reason.

We've got the information we needed. Time to switch back!

Diana still has the goggles on. Whoops.

The dust chute has a picture of a screwdriver and two screws on it. Phi just happened to get a way to convert those to numbers.

I tried putting in 188 here and just got a generic error message. I guess it does explicitly say "g" for "grams" on here, even if you didn't happen to look with the goggles. Anyway, screwdriver = 133g and two screws = 22g, so the total is 155g.

Well done. Now we can send things to the other side.

Not sure Phi ever actually communicated the weights of those objects to Diana, but sure.

Nothing has really changed on this side of the room, but we have a toolbox that's screwed shut and Phi has a screwdriver, so let's send that over.

Yeah. She should be able to open it since she has a screwdriver over there.

Phi! I'm sending the toolbox down the chute. Please take it!

And down the chute it goes.

A toolbox. There better be some tools inside that I can use...

Hm... It's not opening. It's screwed shut.

We automatically switch over to Phi. Let's grab the screwdriver and open this thing up.

Doesn't look like the tools are set correctly... It's just like a puzzle.

Our goal here is to get all the tools onto the game board, lining up all the red X's with all the blue X's, with no overlaps. Like with many such puzzles, the easiest places to start are the corners and edges. In this case, only one tool can line up with that blue X on the upper left corner, without blocking the other blue X right below it. The rest of the pieces can be laid in similarly. Here's the full solution at 4x speed:

Good. They're all in place now. Oh, the bottom compartment opened.

It says "Max out the needle!" Needle... Hmm... Diana! Is there a needle over there?

A needle? No, I don't think so... Oh, but there's a needle over on the meter.

Which meter?

Um, I think it's for a thermometer?

I see...

Do we have anything that can max out a thermometer?

They look too big.

Phi doesn't, but Diana might. No, not these goggles.

We picked this torch up way at the beginning and haven't found a use for it, so let's send it over.

Phi! I'm dropping the gas torch into the dust chute! Please take it!

A small gas torch.

Now to see how much this gas torch weighs...

There's no point to weighing the torch, but I thought it was neat that they put in logic for it.

...The temperature is going up.


Phi didn't actually explain her plan so Sigma thinks she's cooking in there.

Huh? Well, I'm not bacon yet... Did something happen?

The needle on the thermometer here is shooting up! Is it getting hot in there?!

No, I'm fine. I see, so it IS connected to the thermometer outside.

I'm so glad... Huh? The coin here is...

I doubt there's anything to it. But I bet we can use it for something.

You can actually skip the whole toolbox part of the puzzle if you can figure out that using the torch on the thermometer might make something happen.

There are a few things left in the room. A revolver hangs from the ceiling in a locked glass case - the coin doesn't help there. It also isn't much use on the pedastal with the large keyhole and the "Stop" label. Maybe Phi can use it?

Hey Phi! Do you want this coin?



So much for that.

I don't think we need to send this coin to Phi. She told us she doesn't want it.

Next to the pedastal, we still have this button behind a screwed-in grate. It's a bit unusual, and there are no hints towards it, but there aren't really any other options, either.

The screws all fly off at the same time, somehow.

Seems like we didn't need a screwdriver after all.

Did Sigma somehow learn a lesson from the Healing Room?

I'd like for a tiny guillotine to come out when you push it and chop off your hand...

Wh-What... ?! I-I'm going to forget you said that thank you very much. I'm pushing it!

Where did that come from Diana?

Oh good, my hand's still intact.

Something came out of the floor. What is it? It kind of looks like a chair from here.

Not a guillotine, just a creepy chair filled with restraints.

We don't have anything left in our inventory, so guess we have to check out the chair. You want to sit on it?

Wha-- Hey! Don't be hasty!

I--I see. It's harmless... Why is it here, then?

Do you want to try it out, too?

Eh, sure. Maybe we can figure something out by sitting on it...

Remember that clue that Phi found in the incinerator, that said "188 pounds"? And how it referred to Sigma's weight?

Well, the chair reacts when Sigma sits in it.

That's all automatic, by the way - the clue isn't really meaningful other than to provide context, since Sigma will always try to sit in the chair once you click on it.


Wh-What the hell! I can't move!

[Computer Lady:] Incineration in...three minutes.

What?! Hey Sigma! Diana! What the hell's going on!

I think we tripped something! I'm restrained, but Diana's fine!

What did you say?!

N-No... Why did it... It was fine when I sat on it, so why...?!

Take a deep breath, Diana. We can get past this if we just deal with it calmly.

Urg... O-Okay...hold on! I'll find a way to get the two of you out!

I'm counting on you. Phi first, she doesn't have much time left...!

Maybe we can find something in the chair to let Sigma out.

Mrff, what--oof, are gaaah doing-- STOP. What are you doing with my face?!

I--I'm sorry...! I just thought maybe there's something...

If you have the time to mess with people's faces, then go search somewhere else!

And now Sigma's trapped too... Oh, what should I do...

Stop focusing on me, Diana! I'm only being restrained. Phi! She doesn't have much time!

Y-You're right... I need to stop that!

Oh, I'm sure we have plenty of time.

Oh...! Uh, wow, your chest is...strong.


...What are you doing?

Um... I just thought, maybe an important clue would be hidden somewhere...

...Well, there IS something important there.

O-Oh my God, I'm sorry! It's not like that! I didn't mean... It's not like that!

Oh Sigma, what should I do...

Stay calm. First, you'll have to let go of my hand. It's okay, just look for some clues.

Eventually we run out of body parts to manhandle.


I told you, don't worry about me! Phi doesn't have much time...!

Fine, let's go look at the box that fell down here.

This was hanging from the ceiling. I could maybe use the gun if I can get it out...!

I think the keyhole is hexagonal... Oh, the time is...!

Diana doesn't have anything left to help with the box, maybe Phi can do something?

Phi, I'm dropping the box down! Could you open the lock for us?!

...But just how am I gonna open it. Let me just examine it first.

A padlock... I can't open it without a key. Oh? The keyhole is shaped like a hexagon... Hm.

Remember the screwdriver with the hexagon-shaped grip?

Yes! It's open! Diana, I opened the lock! Pull the chain up!

Got it!

We have to click on the chain to bring the box back up.

How is a gun going to help right now, anyway?

The muzzle... Maybe it'll fit...

The first hint is pretty obscure, but there's only one thing left to interact with, anyway. The second click gives something more direct.

Hmm, will it work?

I think the gun will go in here... PLease fit...!


...We did?

The puzzle rooms are actually very well story-boarded, finding interesting and unique ways around the traditional setup. But the window dressing doesn't always line up, like here.

Music: Dcom (The Beginning)

It appears the preparations are complete.

Guess he's going to taunt us himself, this time.

But first, I will tell you a story about the past.

Seventeen years ago, a woman was killed. As a result, after a falsely accused man was sentenced to death, his wife took her own life. A taxi driver died in an accident along with his passenger, a surgeon. The child who awaited a critical operation also perished. Six people all together...

Six deaths in this story, and six X-Passes needed to open the X-Door. Is that a coincidence?

Why did these six die?

Because of a snail. A single, solitary snail took the lives of six people.

This story continues the one we heard way back in the Execution fragment. A woman was jogging, and because she encounted a snail, took a different path than normal. On that other path, she ran into a killer. And several other dominoes fell as a result.

No not just six...but six billion... Six billion people will lose their lives as a result of that lone snail.

Somehow those events also lead to the release of the virus that kills six billion?

Life is simply unfair. Don't you think?

LP title reference counter: 4

Now then, to explain the rules.

It should be clear that a revolver is set up beside the chair right now. It contains six rounds. Three are live, and three are blank, though they are randomized within the chamber. Pull the trigger, and the odds a live round will fire from the gun are six to three, or 50%.

Oh, and the door to the incinerator... It automatically opens the moment it detects the sound of the revolver's discharge. Live round or blank, it doesn't matter which is fired.

A warning horn goes off, as the incinerator appears to start up.

Three minutes remain until the incinerator fires. What will you do? Pull the trigger, or refrain...?

Wasn't it three minutes left back when Sigma first got in the chair? Eh, whatever.

Diana, both of their lives rest upon your decision.

Fade to black...

Music: Extreme Urgency (What Will You Decide?)

There's no time, Diana. Pull the trigger.

Logically, which one has more to gain?

If we don't pull that trigger, I'd obviously stay alive. My chance at survival would clearly be 100%.

But then it'd guarantee Phi's death, as her survival rate would be 0.

Chance of survival -- 100%.

A blank round, and my head doesn't suddenly have a new hole. It's 50:50.

We had a 50:50 chance at something way back at the beginning of the game...

It's either "100 and 0" or "100 and 50". It's obvious which one is the wiser choice.

Logically, he's right.

What if the shot is a live bullet?!

Do you really want Diana to end up blowing your head off with her own hands?!

Don't worry about me...

Another cool touch is that any of Phi's lines that are spoken while the camera is outside of the incinerator, like this one, have her voice sound somewhat muffled.

Diana, please, listen to me.

Isn't it obvious?

Yes, but he wants you to say it out loud so that you'll subconsciously buy into it.

If you don't pull it at all, one of us will definitely die.

More chimes, and then the computer lady speaks this time.

The vibes here are very similar to the Healing Room, with Sigma and Phi both trying to convince Diana to decide their way.

Here comes the heartbeat.

Music: Tough Decision (Make Your Choice)

Can Diana do it? Should Diana do it? Pull the trigger?