Tuesday, 3 October 2017

The Dagger of Amon Ra - Lost?

By Deimar

Laura Journal Entry #4 "Ok, ok. I have to get out of this museum. People are dropping like flies. First Dr. Carter, and then everyone else. I am starting to believe I am the murderer as I seem to be the only living soul around here. But I will soldier on and see the end of these murderers or I am not called Laura Bow!”

Who would have thought? It really seems like Yvette cared for Ernie. We start this chapter at her office trying to comfort her. She repeats the bit about Ernie being chased by Icepick, a loan shark, but that’s something we already knew. What surprised me in that conversation is that Laura reprimands Yvette for spending too much time with her Steve. I mean, we have seen her with Ernie, O’Riley, Tut, Najeer… basically the entire male cast but for Steve. I really must have missed something along the way…

And immediately after leaving her to her woes, we find the thought but sensitive stevedore-by-day artist-by-night Steve at The Thinker, talking with Dr. Myklos. He comments that the paintings in the gallery are all fake, but Laura doesn’t want to have any of it and presses on about all the women he has been with tonight. And just when Laura is about to get really mad at him, Yvette comes rushing to cry on his shoulder, taking him inside. That’s a short mourning period. Obviously, I couldn’t let the french blonde to get away with our Steve, so I used the old glass on the door trick™ to listen to them. Well…


Mon dieu! Let’s shout some more easily misinterpreted things so we can provoke a hilarious situation!

Curiously, that IS the same face she used when looking at a dead corpse. Maybe we will find Steve’s soon and we will be pretty sure of who did that

Yes, I will leave you alone so you can keep grasping her neck with your hands. It is not as if there have been several murders this night and Steve hasn’t been seen in a while...


After that I went to the gallery and realized that all of the descriptions explicitly say how fresh the paint looks. So maybe the countess was smuggling the real pictures with the help of Ziggy and the fake Carrington, but then.. why would she want to marry him for his fortune? The reasoning took me nowhere and I was at a loss about what to do next. So I went to do some wandering but after a while I got bored and decided it was as good a time as any other to translate the Egyptian texts in Dr. Myklos:

I.PAY.HOMAGE.TO.THEE.YE.L
ORDS.OF.ETERNITY.RA.ST
RONG.IS.THY.SAIL.IN.THE.WI
ND.AS.THE.LAKE.OF.FIR
E.IN.THE.UNDERWORLD.BE
HOLD.SHU.THE.MOTHER.C
REATNIG.THE.GODS

IN.SILENCE.FROM.HER.WO
MB.QUICKER.THAN.GREYH
OUNDS.AND.FLEETER.T
HAN.LIGHT.LET.ME.NOT
BE.BUNRT.LET.ME.NOT.BE
CONSUMED.LET.ME.NOT
PERISH.AS.MY.MUMMY.LIES.P
ROSTRATE.IN.MY.TOMB

That was definitely a good use of my time. Therefore, I decided to keep walking in order to find the next action that would make time pass by. It might seem I am just trying to find those triggers, but I feel like there is a lack of clues to chase in this game that is a bit worrying. Half the time I don’t even know why I do the things I do. For example, the next time jump occurs when reaching the basement room full of tanks with animals. But there is nothing that triggers it, simply walking and nothing seems to have change. But when going back upstairs to Yvette, we find her room completely trashed.

I knew she was not a natural blonde!

There is not that much left in the room. A high-heel and a piece of Yvette’s dress seems to indicate that the poor soul has probably abandoned the realm of the living and trapped in a museum. There are some some ginger hairs in the table, but I seriously doubt Dorian is the guilty part, as he has been pushed too far to be Laura’s love interest and I do not think this is the kind of game that would make him the “baddy”.

I went to explore but it didn’t take me too long to notice a new addition to the picture gallery: a plastered figure of a woman. Suspecting foul play, I decided to make use of the old, literally, glass breaker of a bone I’ve been carrying around and uncover the ugly truth under the plaster.

A girl is dead. Delacroix. Yvette Delacroix. She is covered in plaster. White plaster.

It seems like she was strangled using her own hosiery. Well, tough luck. Life is hard and shit happens. One moment you are chasing our Steve, and the next you are covered in plaster and exposed in a picture gallery as a sculpture, a sure way of drawing attention to the fact that there is a decaying corpse in the middle of the room. Ces’t la vie.

And here I had some problems with saves that I don’t fully understand, but I will try to explain. I went to the medieval exhibit and found one of Steve’s boots, suggesting he has probably gone the way of the dodo too. Na, don’t think so, he has writer’s immunity. In any case, going back to The Thinker's shows a cutscene where we can see the countess going completely blue on top of Dr. Myklos’s desk, and the aforementioned doctor interrogating her about what are her needs. At some point I started to think I had fallen asleep and woken up in the middle of a Looney Toons cartoon.

May I remind you that this is the same death and violence obsessed doctor that has been talking about death all night?

The doctor rushes off the office to seek for detective O’Riley, as those seem to be the last words of the late countess, when she encounters Laura and explains the situation, suggesting that countess presents the symptoms of having been injected with a snake’s poison. Jeez, I wonder which or whose snake could that have been…

Lucky for us, Laura is an expert of finding lost prone-to-kill objects!

When we enter the office, Laura is attacked by Myklos’s cobra. I didn’t know what to do at that moment and got killed. And here is where I lost track of the boot. I was barred from saving once inside the office, so I had to replay a good portion of the game, basically from when I discovered Yvette’s corpse, but when I got back to the medieval exhibit I didn’t find it. I do not know if I encountered a glitch or if I missed a time passing event but the boot was no more. However, while I was there I started to think about how I hadn’t been able of finding Ziggy’s head in the mask room and that it could have been hidden inside one of the suits of armor. And voila!!

Well, not the death man’s head I was looking for, I should probably leave it alone…

Dr. Pippin’s… I wonder if that has been there the whole time and what does it mean. I assumed the body would have been retrieved by the police, but seeing it is here and nobody ever mentioned it being lost… I guess the theory of O’Riley being the killer is right on the money. He is the one that found the corpse after me and the most interested in not involving any other cop. That also would explain Yvette’s dead, as we saw him being a complete and jealous jerk. That would also explain Ernie’s, although if he helped the detective stealing the dagger that could be another motive. Ziggy probably knew his dirty laundry. But why kill the countess (although she did whisper his name before dying)? And Steve? Dr. Carter? The last two probably for jealousy, but I can’t find a motive to kill the countess. Or Carrington…

Well, back to trying to fight the snake. We have been carrying a complete “catch-the-snake”™ kit so it is not that difficult. You have to use the snake oil on her first to scare her and then use the snake-catcher to put her back into her cell, but it took me several tries as you have to use the oil until the bottle is depleted. In any case, now there are no poisonous reptiles (by the way, the reptiles are now winning the death pool by 2 to 1 over everything else) we can try to help the countess…

She looks younger now. Maybe I should try that lifting technique…

The countess died from a snake bite on her ankle. Laura finds some grapes next to the desk, which supports the theory of having been killed by O’Riley, and some smelling salts after looking into her hair… Yes, you heard me right, smelling salts in her hair. I guess that was a thing in the 20s.

Leaving the room now begins Act 5, which teleports Laura to the mammoth room where we found Ernie with a hooded maniac chasing her with a spiked cub. So if you are like me and right now are asking yourself how on earth did we reach this point from leaving Myklos’s office I have only one thing to say. I have no idea. No, really. This is beyond rushed. Why make this jump? Why teleport Laura this way? Does it serve a purpose other than having a chase scene? It is totally disorienting starting the act in a completely different room, with the music running wild and then seeing the hooded figure approach Laura. Not to mention, you are not allowed to save at this moment, and I was allowed in Myklos’ office. So every time I died I had to restart from before dealing with the snake, investigate the countess’ body, and try a new thing to avoid being killed by the murderer. And believe me, it took me too long to realize what I had to do.

The thing is, the murderer chases Laura into the dinosaur exhibit where Ziggy’s body was found, and taking any exit from this room leads to death. It took me a while to realize that, like in Lure of the Temptress, the solution is obvious. Well, a little less obvious than in Temptress, but the same solution nonetheless. Close the door, and tie the knobs together with the wire from the pterodactyl that you can cut with the wire cutters from Ernie’s office. Simple, but not a permanent solution. Although the silver lining is that now we can save. The next room is the medieval exhibit, but what to do here was more straightforward, as the first time I entered this room I noticed the door can be barred. Not that it matters, as Laura seems to be chased by a cybernetical system coming from the future that has no respect for blocked doors.

You always lose at hide-and-seek, don’t you?

In any case, it does give you more time to experiment what to do next. Going to the mask gallery does nothing, and going north leads to the Egyptian exhibit. I tried hiding in a sarcophagus, but Laura just steps out when the killer is near. After trying hiding behind the tapestry again and in a chest, I started to focus my attention at the old locked door with the “Employees only” lettering. You can’t open the door, but you can try and open the transom over it. Well, you have to move a chair next to the door to reach the window but then you can open and close it. I didn’t notice anything changing, nor I could go inside the room through it, but when hiding in the sarcophagus again, the murderer didn’t find Laura. When going outside the sarcophagus, she hears a noise like an angry multiple-murderer hooded figure breaking a door.

So I went back to that door and now it was open. I guess the killer thought Laura had sneaked through the transom and broke in to see if she was there, and then left south when he found nothing. In any case, inside the room there is a crane and several boxes. Operating the crane puts a box against the now broken door. I don’t think that will do too much, as you can clearly still go under it, but it is something. A for effort. Behind another box at the far right side there is a hidden door, leading to a lift that takes us to the basement where the museum stores its sarcophaguses. Yes, that right, there is a room full of sarcophaguses in the museum.

But the awesomeness of PU II, the mummy of a teddy bear will make this moment more bearable

As soon as Laura steps off the lift, it goes up for the terminator. I immediately close the door and try to block it with a sarcophagus, but that is not the answer to this riddle. The answer is to open one of them, take the mummy inside and use it to block the door. Which is obviously the sensitive thing to do, as the mummy will hold better than a chunk of wood and metal… But now I was trapped, with no apparent exit at hand. I clicked on everything, looked at everything and even started to wonder if I had dead-ended myself when my pixel hunter provided the answer, as the sarcophagus left of the door has a snake in its forehead that can be moved with the snake catcher to unlock the sarcophagus. Neat. And then we change the movie and suddenly we find ourselves in this.

Now, I know I have said this a lot in this game but this time is for real… can I join in?

Talk about getting out the frying pan… We find Najeer and the cult of Ra, ready to kill the reporter before she can tell the world that there is a cult. I am perfectly happy of belonging to a club whose first rule is not to talk about the club, but they don’t seem too inclined to let me in. But when Laura makes a point saying that ancient Egyptians didn’t make human sacrifices, they reconsider the proposal and let Laura leave as long as she can answer the riddle of Ra. This has been mentioned by some of the characters but I didn’t give them any attention. The riddle is split into two parts, the first is:

What ith the room you leave without entering?

What ith the room you enter without leaving?

Of course, you have to answer using the hieroglyphs. I admit that I didn’t solve the first one by myself, as I had some help from my wife. But once the first one was solved, the second one is pretty obvious and stays on the subject. So with the riddle solved, Najeer let us leave after Laura promises not to tell anyone about the crazy Egyptian cult making sacrifices under the museum in a secret chamber. Thinking about it, kind of makes senses she makes the promise. It is not as if someone is going to believe that...

I knew it wasn’t you!! And even in spite of your complete lack of personality I will always love you!!

The next room takes us to the boiler room, where we find an unconscious Steve. And this is another puzzle that took me way too long to figure out. You can give the salts to Steve to revive him. But after a while he stands up and then falls into the ground, not making a single comment or movement afterwards. Exploring the room reveals that there is a picture of Osiris that could be moved… by two persons. Ok, I get the hint. There is a boot in the floor (which I guess wouldn't be here if I had taken it back at the medieval exhibit) and he is missing a boot. Maybe he can’t walk due to the lack of footing gear. But I can’t give him anything right now. So I reload and try again, but I don’t seem to be fast enough to give him the boot or putting it on him while he is unconscious. Until in one of the tries I managed to give him the boot before he stands up. You see, when you look at the floor, Laura says it is too hot. So my best guess is that he can’t take the hotness and collapses. Or something. I don’t really think this puzzle is very well designed, it seems a bit flimsy. Now I realize that I might have had problems because I was playing at maximum speed, but in any case, that’s a poor excuse for a puzzle.

In any case, with the two of them now capable of working together, they move the mural and discover a hole in the wall. Going inside the darkness surprisingly does not kill you. Not immediately at least, because the tunnel is full of cobras. And not of the kai variety. Laura still keeps some oil, so this one is easy. It is the next screen that proves to be more difficult. The next part of the tunnel is the end, but the tunnel is blocked by a pack of rats. Even more pressing, there are some gunshot noises coming from behind, which proves that you can’t send a cult of Ra to do the work of a reporter. We still keep the cheese from the mousetrap in Wolf’s office, but using it with the rats leads to another glorious death. Did I mention that after entering the boiler room you can’t save? How I hate this game…

Thank you captain obvious. What tipped you? The gunshots? I bet it was the gunshots!

After a few tries, I finally found the solution, which is to throw the cheese through one of the windows you can see in the image. Taking the other as an exit throws Laura and Steve into the dinosaur exhibit, via the throat of the talking T-Rex. I don’t even know where the other window is supposed to lead. In any case, Steve blocks the exit, so there is just one thing left to do. Push the button and let the T-Rex talk. And boy he does…

I think there is something in your teeth…

And I would have gotten away with it too if it weren’t for you meddling kids and your stupid giant talking reptile!

We are actually not shown the face of O’Rile… I mean… the murderer. By this point he is the only character alive but for Tut, and he doesn’t seem to be fit enough, so he has to be the killer. But that’s for the coroner to decide, as Act 5 ends and Act 6 begins, which consist in an interview with the coroner in front of everyone and their mothers so they can laugh at me and my pity attempts at detective work.

The coroner first asks about all of the murderers and although I think I have the killer figured out, he also asks for the motive behind each killing. So my best bet is jealousy for the males and Yvette and to cover another crime for the countess. Then we are asked about the skeleton in the trunk, which is easy as he is definitely the true Dr. Carrington. When asked about his killer, there was only a name I didn’t recognize in the list: Watney Little. So that’s one thing for sure I totally missed, but that has to be Dr. Carrington’s killer as shown in the introduction.

The coroner keeps asking questions, but the only one that produced a result was answering the countess when asked about a scheme to steal paintings from the museum. However, when asked about her male associate, I answered Ziggy and got chastised, saying that he was not in fact her collaborator and that I should have confronted her in the medieval exhibit with proof that her partner had been killed. So I guess the answer to that is to show her the watch or something else from fake Carrington and she will spill the beans about this Watney Little character.

In any case, apparently I failed miserably, as the coroner told me to not ever interfere again with a police investigation and got kicked from the newspaper too. The ending here is a bit dark, to be honest, describing Wolf taking his life for his failure, Myklos taking to solitude, Dr. Carter’s ghost chasing Laura for not recovering the dagger (a lie!!) nor his murder, Tut committing suicide also… Oh, and one night a dark figure enters Laura’s room and guns her down. And this one is actually animated, so you can reflect further on your failures

So… any other suicide that could be attributed to Laura?

Although strictly speaking I have beaten the game, I have decided to replay the game in DosBox to see the differences with the ScummVm version and to see if I can uncover more clues that allow me to beat this coroner senseless!

Session Time: 1h54m
Total Time: 8h30m

Note Regarding Spoilers and Companion Assist Points: There’s a set of rules regarding spoilers and companion assist points. Please read it here before making any comments that could be considered a spoiler in any way. The short of it is that no points will be given for hints or spoilers given in advance of me requiring one. Please...try not to spoil any part of the game for me...unless I really obviously need the help...or I specifically request assistance. In this instance, I've not made any requests for assistance. Thanks!

10 comments:

  1. At least the coroner made pretty clear what was the important piece you missed? That's assuming of course that the countess-collaborator question was the only one triggering your bad end.

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    1. He only offered me three clues:

      The first one is the one about the countess.

      The second one is about Najeer, as I was asked about the leader of the RA cult and the first time I did the quizz somehow I thought the leader was the hooded figure next to him. The clues the coroner gave me made it clear it had to be Najeer and when I reloaded and answered Najeer he didn't say anything.

      The third one is a question regarding who has a side job fencing items from the museum. I answered that Ernie, but the coroner said something about Ernie repairing a fence in his home, so I assume that is incorrect too.

      However, there were no clues regarding who murdered who or why. That second part is the one I find more troubling and open to interpretation but we shall see...

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    2. About the third one - I think that's just a bad pun, Ernie is the correct answer for that.

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  2. That chase sequence is the worst. I had to do it like three times because I missed something (first I used up all my snake oil, then I had to get the boot from the gallery). And the first time is tedious due to all the trial and error involved. This is the bad kind of dead end situations.

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    1. Yes, it reminds me a lot of the hall at the bandits camp in Quest for Glory. AT least there they allowed you to save more often but here you have to try and repeat a lot before reaching the point where you can save your game again...

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  3. Looking at the picture, did the snake bite Laura where I THINK it bit her?

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    1. In the left leg? :D You can clearly see two red points in her leg in the image. On the other hand, she has no right leg so either the snake had an appetizer or she is doing some yoga postures

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    2. :)

      I originally read this on my phone so didn't notice the red marks at first. But thanks for pointing out that the snake also ate her entire other leg. That picture looks more amusing than I at first thought.

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  4. Deimar, this game seems even more annoying that The Colonel's Bequest, which I enjoyed . . . even though it was annoying.

    Seriously, reading your description of these puzzles makes me a) wonder who, if anyone, playtested this, and b) not want to play this game.

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  5. That revelation of there existing a secret cult beneath the museum was also the moment the story jumped the shark for me. Especially as is seems unrelated to the rest of the story. It's like the writers threw whatever they felt was interesting into the game.

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