Something went wrong. Try again later

ZombiePie

To each and every one of you reading this; be kind, earnest, and nice to those around you.

9223 94836 2424 84108
Forum Posts Wiki Points Following Followers

The Quest For The Worst Adventure Game Puzzles - MTV's Club Dead [Part 1] (At Least Scroll To The End For A Twist)

If you enjoy this blog and would like to read my other adventure game retrospectives, here's a list of my previous episodes of this series:

Why Are You Playing MTV's Club Dead? (i.e., Blame Sparky_Buzzsaw)

Welcome to Hell... I mean Club Dead!
Welcome to Hell... I mean Club Dead!

Let's take things back to a year ago when I raised money for the Giant Bomb Community Endurance Run in 2022. During the first day of my streams, I announced that I was taking commission ideas for future entries of my "Quest For The Worst Adventure Game" series on Giant Bomb. Almost immediately, the five slots I set at a measly $35 each got snatched up, and one of those donors was Sparky_Buzzsaw, who pounced on the opportunity to make my life miserable. He spent a whopping $50 on my donation page and demanded to see me cover the multimedia epic MTV's Club Dead. I have accomplished most of my donation goals in the past year, even if that does not seem to be the case. Though I have yet to cover Shanarra or The Longest Journey, I was able to conduct video playthroughs of both on my Twitch and YouTube accounts. Sparky, however, has been incredibly patient as I have yet to play MTV Club Dead or even pen an essay on it. Well, that changes today! After a year of tinkering with the game and struggling to think of a way to cover it, I'm finally doing it! As of the publishing of this blog, I have started raising money for the 2023 edition of the Giant Bomb Community Endurance Run, and you can feel free to donate whatever you can spare to help me raise money for charity.

MTV Club Dead was an absolute chore to play in the year of our Lord, 2023. As I discussed in my first "Blogging about Failure" post at the end of 2022, I suspect the game is running Quicktime to play some of its cutscenes and is doing so in the form of a separate executable that runs interlaced with the base game. As a result, bootstrapping it to DOSBox is more complex than you'd expect, but at least it's not a Windows 3.1x game. And for those of you wondering if I ever streamed the game, I didn't because I don't want to pick a fight with Paramount, formally known as Viacom. There are FMV cutscenes that use licensed music, and as its title suggests, it uses some parts of the MTV label in it, which I suspect is part of why it has become abandonware. It's a shame, given how bonkers wild this game ends up being. With Total Distortion and Virtual Nightclub also in copyright limbo, there aren't any good alternatives you can go out and play legally that scratch the same itch as MTV Club Dead. I guess you had to "be there" when multimedia FMV games were all the rage, and some people genuinely thought they would become the future of the video game industry.

What The Hell Is MTV Club Dead?

Club Dead comes from the oft-forgotten game developer Viacom New Media. While many of you might be familiar with the name "Viacom," this specific label and its presence in the games industry might not ring some bells. Viacom New Media was a new endeavor by Sumner Redstone and Frank Biondi to expand Viacom/Paramount into video games. This studio or shell company started when Redstone invested gobs of money into Midway Games, but before he bought a controlling interest in the then pinball and arcade game-making behemoth. Most of you know Viacom New Media as being the studio that made a ton, and I mean A TON, of terrible and questionable Beavis and Butt-Head and Nickelodeon-themed video games. However, they were also the mad minds behind the of the era action-puzzle game, Zoop. Regardless, the most crucial fact about Viacom New Media is that the lion's share of its employees were carryovers from ICOM Simulations, which Viacom bought and merged with Viacom New Media. These people made the DOS and NES Shadowgate games, which some of you fondly remember. Still, I remember them as the people who made the FMV Dracula Unleashed and Sherlock Holmes: Consulting Detective adventure games. As a result, it shouldn't come as a massive surprise when Redstone asked his pet project to explore making a new video game that used the MTV IP that they defaulted to making an adventure game. Shocker, the studio that knew how to make FMV adventure games made an FMV adventure game!

This is one of the MANY sub-menus in the game you use to apply items and watch videos!
This is one of the MANY sub-menus in the game you use to apply items and watch videos!

In the purest sense, MTV Club Dead is a Myst clone. Much like Myst, it uses a handful of pre-rendered backgrounds interspliced with real FMV actors. Like Myst, Club Dead relies on you triggering events through scripted interactions with other characters, objects, and environmental puzzles. UNLIKE Myst, Club Dead places a MASSIVE gameplay investment in inventory management. It even takes a note from Night Trap, wherein you must fan through menus and hop back and forth between multiple screens and devices to watch critical cutscenes that provide clues for future puzzles. More often than not, the most common trigger involves the game checking to see if you have the correct inventory item in your character's hands when you enter a new environment or level because the actor for the protagonist often dons these items or articles of clothing in accompanying cinematics. As you will see with several of my "puzzle" reviews, I was not a fan of how this game played, even if I adored its sheer insanity and the absolute commitment of its actors to their unique bits. The game also has a weird time element wherein the events take place across four in-game days, and each of those days breaks down into chunks measured in hours and minutes. The time skips are all over the place, and if you ask me, the date and time are only worth referring to if you get stuck and wish to follow a guide.

So, the FMV in this game is incredible. Even when I felt like the gameplay was starting to let me down, the game would hit me with a cinematic with a bunch of oddly dressed FMV actors selling their lines as if their life depended on it. Likewise, the cheapness of the game's production values warmed my soul. For example, a man is introduced as an alien but acts like a Roman Senator from the time of Julius Caesar, even though his outfit only involves a basic all-black tunic. One of the female characters is the game's best attempt at having a Laura Palmer stand-in, which allows her to engage in Lynchian oddball dialogue. Then there are the background borders and visual additions that pop out of nowhere but help the game to embody the 90s perfectly. This game is a time capsule. The story is relatively basic outside of its ridiculous and zany twists and turns. Your character is attending a hip hotel when they wake up after a bender only to discover a murdered body next to them. They then need to spend the next four days proving their innocence. Otherwise, they will be sent to a dystopian cyberpunk jail. Oh, and did I mention that this game is Post-Apocalytic AND Cyberpunk? It's honestly the most 90s video game ever made! Like most multimedia works, MTV Club Dead tops out on a good day at two to three hours. Correspondingly, once you've seen everything the game has to show you, there's virtually no replay value. BUT HOT DAMN if its initial ride is something you will never see or experience anywhere else.

I love you all very much, but I'm not picking a fight with Viacom.
I love you all very much, but I'm not picking a fight with Viacom.

Full disclosure, I will have to do things slightly differently from my standard format for these blogs because Club Dead isn't exactly your typical adventure game. As I said, the game primarily consists of you watching a series of music videos and FMV cutscenes in the correct order to progress the story. The story takes place across a continuum of four days, and each has a predetermined number of hours and minutes for you to explore the necessary cutscenes and complete the expected tasks on those given days. There's no rhyme or reason to how many minutes or hours you have at your disposal, and plenty of time skips move you along the story while you watch new wild and wacky cutscenes. To make things easier for you and me, I will bundle the game into groups of two to three-hour chunks. I'll also do my best to summarize the insanity of those videos, but I strongly recommend you find what few video walkthroughs of the game that exist on the internet there are. Again, despite playing the game to completion, I am not one of them because I don't want a copyright strike against my Twitch and YouTube accounts. Viacom might be dead, and MTV is a rotting husk of the empire it once was, but lawyers will pounce on the first scent of blood they smell on YouTube these days.

October 29th

Boy, oh boy! I really came to hate these elevators!
Boy, oh boy! I really came to hate these elevators!

Puzzles From 12:05 pm to 1:55 pm - [Rating: 2/10] - The first two in-game hours boil down to you watching required cutscenes and flipping between your emails, voicemail, Personal Data Assistant (i.e., PDA), Electronic Access Guide (i.e., EGA), inventory, and the in-game world. Does that found fiddly? OH, YOU DON'T EVEN KNOW THE HALF OF IT! After finishing the introductory cutscene, there are two messages in the inbox to listen to and explorable explanations for the belongings already in your inventory. I also recommend reviewing the categories in the EGA and PDA and clicking any options with audio clips. Beyond that, you can enter the elevator, and as is apt for a game from this era, there's a particular order of floors and rooms the game wants you to explore, but the clues on what that order may be are barely present. In this case, start with floor fifteen, which happens to be the "Body Station." Upon entering, you have another forced cinematic followed by a message in your inbox you need to review. More annoying, there's a story-required audio clip you need to listen to, but the game forces you to use its awful interface to "download" it as if its video player is a real OS. Then you need to go to floor eight to enter your hotel room and listen to orders to go to floor seventeen, but only after you download ANOTHER audio file to your PDA! This audio recording leads to the game's first "true" puzzle, wherein you need to click and drag a drawing and apply it to an empty slot in your inventory. Riveting stuff, I tell you! Then, you can enter the Tiki Tech Saloon on floor seventeen!

Did you catch that I'm not the biggest fan of how this plays? Indeed, the madness experienced with the FMV cutscenes is partially worth the entry price, but flipping between the six to seven interface dongles to click on buttons is never a good time. Just take a gander at the few screenshots I have provided already and ask yourself if this looks like a good time! Regardless, with the start of the game amounting to nothing more than you playing around with buttons and a weird obtuse fake operating system, I can't be bothered to rank the game's opening salvo any higher than a two.

This really is the aspect ratio and video quality of every single cinematic in this game. So, BUCKLE UP!
This really is the aspect ratio and video quality of every single cinematic in this game. So, BUCKLE UP!

Weirdest Video: It has to be the opening cinematic. Your encounter with the detective/security guard is a close second considering the actor playing the guard is making their best Ace Venture impression, and it's about as AMAZING as you'd expect. However, in the opening cinematic, your player character wakes up in a dingy bathroom with his head partially submerged in a toilet, only to realize there's a dead body right next to them. As they get their bearings straight, you watch them pull their belongings out of a toilet filled with green goo. Also, every dramatic shot or story moment has a filter or outline that looks like everything is surrounded by pocket protector stickers or the Solo Jazz cup design. In a later scene, a security guard steps on your hand, and the background has a rainbow filter around the boot because that's totally tubular, dude! Then, MTV Club Dead's version of Max Headroom welcomes you to the hotel and gives you a rundown of your current situation. Yup, there's a Max Headroom rip-off in this video game!

This is what the inventory system looks like in this game. HELP!
This is what the inventory system looks like in this game. HELP!

Puzzles From 2:30 pm to 4:10 pm - [Rating: 6/10] - The minute you enter the Tiki Tech Saloon, you have another forced cinematic that goes on north of sixty seconds. Again, the game needs you to download another file to your PDA, but this time it's recommended you take note of the audio AND image attached. The image unlocks the "Chipman Interface" as if this game didn't need another fiddly bit for you to worry about already! Play the chip using your new doodad and then make a beeline to floor fourteen, which happens to be the medical center. As before, you end up in a required cutscene and need to download a PDA file, listen to a recording, and examine an image. However, when you attempt to exit the medical center, things get "spicy." You run into a random man in the medical center who is curiously sniffing empty pill bottles. He claims to be the doctor, but you quickly out him as a fraud, to which he responds by running away. The game has another video, a message in your inbox to review, and files to download. The game needs you to find the hotel lobby after you drag an autopsy report into your inventory. You'll notice in the lobby that people speak different languages or dialects that seem indecipherable. That's because THEY'RE ALIENS!

Nonetheless, around this point, the game finally realizes it's an adventure game. It recognizes it should make things more involved than having you listen to people talk at you for minutes upon end. So, while in the lobby, you need to apply a transductor to your character's hands and then have your character use a device called a "Tele-FX" to their right. This action provides a new cache of files, and you need to comb through them to find appropriate clues that might prove your character's innocence. However, you also need to send the autopsy report using the Tele-FX by moving the report to your main inventory slots, moving it into your hands, and then applying it to the device. You must do this whenever you need to use an item. To add insult to injury, you end up with more inbox messages after sending the report, which you must comb over to know that you next need to dart away to floor twelve. Every time I had to download files, locate attachments in files, move attached images to inventory slots to transform them into items, move items into my character's hands, and then move things back into my inventory slots, a small part of me died. It's one of the worst inventory management systems I have ever seen in an adventure game. But MAN, is the FMV acting in this game SOMETHING! I almost want to say it forgives the rest of this game's problems, but I can't, as the worst is yet to come.

Some INCREDIBLE 90s vibes in this game from top to bottom!
Some INCREDIBLE 90s vibes in this game from top to bottom!

Weirdest Video: It's a tie between the bathroom cutscene wherein you spy on a conversation between two characters and your two cinematics in the medical center. There are some colorful characters among the possible suspects associated with the murder, and the two you overhear in the bathroom are absolute highlights. Both of them are impeccably dressed, and the female of the two reveals she is related to the hotel owner in true rich chick fashion. When they part, instead of kissing each other on the lips, they kiss their index fingers and place them together as a sign of their undying loyalty. Oh, and how could I forget about the scene with the "doctor" who is obviously in the medical center to steal drugs and acts the role to a T? And it appears that some people in the morgue are mutated human corpses, but the story never resolves that point.

Don't you hate it when your Tamagotchi threatens to throw your ass in jail?
Don't you hate it when your Tamagotchi threatens to throw your ass in jail?

Puzzles From 5:15 pm to 7:45 pm - [Rating: 3/10] - Alright, I'm not going through the motions of which order to read the inbox messages or PDA files as I did previously because I have a sneaking suspicion it's starting to get old. It turns out the first person you met in the medical room wasn't a doctor but a drug addict that enjoys sneaking into his office to nab pills. After you meet the real doctor, your character gets a creepy message from a bald floating head that threatens him with a strict prison sentence if he doesn't figure out who the murderer is in three days. From here, you need to go to the Body Station on the fifteenth floor and trigger a message in your PDA that unlocks the translator. This action allows you to return to the Tiki Bar on the seventeenth floor to initiate a new cutscene. When you pick up some "Vector Goggles" from the medical lab, your character automatically fixes them when you exit. The messages tell you the name of the rooms but not the floor number, which drove me up the wall. Also, while the game automatically repairs the vector goggles, it only does so if they are in your character's hands when you exit the doctor's office. If you forget, you must return to the office, place the goggles in your hands, and try leaving the office again.

Weirdest Video: It's the message from the talking floating head. It's undoubtedly a "choice" that some of the most crucial story moments happen on your PDA, which looks like a Tamagotchi device, but this one is worth it. In between their threats are brief video clips of people who painfully look like random developers, pretending to be miserable prisoners in a sci-fi jail. Their tattered shirts and ripped blue jeans wouldn't even pass off as a discount zombie outfit in your local Spirit Halloween store. It simply gets a chef's kiss from me. The cutscene with the "real" doctor is a close second place as he rapidly spouts medical jargon like an android and even mutters about things like a David Lynch character. And when he conducts a brain scan on the protagonist, the screen fills with trippy visuals as if you are on acid.

This is the saddest go-go party I have ever seen in all of media.
This is the saddest go-go party I have ever seen in all of media.

Puzzles: From 8:05 pm to 11:25 pm - [Rating: 4/10] - It is time to return to the hotel lobby with the repaired goggles. After viewing another batch of videos and audio recordings, you learn that there's a party coming up, and your character's presence is desired. You find the party's host in a plastic tube getting high off space drugs, and they provide a hint about how to prove your innocence before you watch a montage of scantily clad women dancing to some of the most 90s techno music imaginable. This interaction sends you to Richie 7 on floor three, and the trick is to remember to put the goggles in your hands before you exit the elevator. Otherwise, the following video and story sequence will not trigger! However, you find Richie 7 dead, and this forces you to seek the advice of Lana Powers. She's hosting a mixer and promises to talk to you privately in the tiki bar in the future.

Weirdest Video: Seeing a random actor pretend to trip balls in a plastic tube is funny, but Lana Powers takes the cake. She looks like Laura Palmer from Twin Peaks, and whenever she talks, there's a Lynchian affectation to her voice that seems unmistakable. She claims to have special powers, pun intended, and asks the protagonist to return at midnight. To return to the weirdo in the vape tube, I think the game is trying to be "sexy" with the scantily clad women in the scene, but their Cling Wrap-like clothing looks so cheap and uncomfortable that I honestly couldn't help but feel bad for the people playing the Cyberpunk go-go dancers. Also, the person in the vape tube looks like and even does a Hunter S. Thompson impersonation with their mannerisms fairly on point. To continue the game's Twin Peaks themes, when you return to the elevator, you watch a nightmare sequence wherein the girl who claimed to be the hotel owner's daughter taunts you after injecting you with space drugs.

October 30th

This guy is simply the best. I wonder why....
This guy is simply the best. I wonder why....

Puzzles From 1:10 am to 10:35 am - [Rating: 6/10] - It's a new day, but the game still plays the same! You have more wild and wacky videos to watch using your PDA and must find the hotel's "Central Control" on its first floor. This part of the game leads to another forced cutscene that requires you to go to floor sixteen. This room turns out to be the surveillance room where the policeman from earlier resides with other underlings. He attempts to interrogate the protagonist by brandishing his favorite torture device, "Mr. Sparky." His underlings let slip a few details they likely did not want your character to know. After this interaction, you return to the lobby and find out you must fiddle with the Tele-FX again. This time, place the translator in your hand, use the Tele-FX, and have a conversation you previously couldn't. This action nets you a new PDA file you will need to use in the medical lab. When you get a new PDA file after going there, you must take note of an image showing Richie's hand, as there's a number on it you need to use to unlock the door to his room. It took me forever to realize this, and even when I did, I had to look up the answer because time has not been kind to this game, and the numbers were much too blurry on my monitor.

Weirdest Video: I didn't give props to the security guard/detective before, but I will give them to him here. The actor in this role was 100% committed to the gimmick, and the results are incredible. His favorite torture device is "Mr. Sparky," and the joke here is EXACTLY what you think it is! The recurring storyline of him being one step behind the protagonist reeks of the Sherrif of Nottingham, but who's judging when you have eyeliner this great? The music accompanying his scenes never matches the tone, and I like it that way. It's another classic example of someone acting professionally in a video game by over-delivering on every line they were given. These performances make Vinny Caravella's FMV adventure game video series so much fun to watch, and the same sentiment applies here. If you love Tim Curry as Dr. Frankenstein in Frankenstein: Through the Eyes of the Monster, you must find a way to play this game!

So... I'm probably going to get nightmares because of this game. Thanks, Sparky!
So... I'm probably going to get nightmares because of this game. Thanks, Sparky!

Puzzles From 11:10 am to 1:55 pm - [Rating: 6/10] - Use your PDA to materialize Nikki's anklet. Once you do so, put it in your character's hands and move to the Tiki Bar. The PDA file you get after this cinematic nets a tiki idol you must immediately move into your character's hands. This object necessitates you use the Tele-FX in the lobby again, and the steps are the same as before. When you complete the necessary steps, a new PDA file rewards you with a photo. After reviewing the picture and watching another cutscene, move to the first floor, followed by the eleventh floor. The eleventh floor is a nursery for adults FROM HELL! After you finish talking to demonic Teletubbies, WHICH WE WILL TALK ABOUT SHORTLY, move the translator into your hands before exiting the room, or else you will be unable to trigger the next cutscene and story sequence. I haven't discussed this point enough. Every time you exit a room or elevator, the game checks to see if the correct item or device is in your character's hands, and if you forget this, then you need to restart the game's check by re-entering the room and leaving it once more but with the correct item in tow. If an elevator is involved, you must return it to a floor on the hotel unconnected to an upcoming story cinematic, exit it, place the correct item in your hand, re-enter the elevator, select the proper floor again, and leave once more.

Weirdest Video: The video seen in The Pods is a parody of the Teletubbies, and this being a dystopian cyberpunk game, plays out as expected. For those who watch professional wrestling, the best way to describe it is that it is very similar in spirit to Bray Wyatt's Firefly Fun House skits. Things start innocently enough, but the minute your character starts posing some pointed questions at the people in the room, they reveal themselves as demons or humanoid mutants. Honestly, the game is incredibly unclear as to which of the two is the case, but the result is the same, when you enter The Pods, you need to find a way to break the saccharine and cheery atmosphere of its facade to get a clue or hint on what you need to do next. The first time it happens is a true delight, and there are even fun gimmicks when you need to visit The Pods a third and fourth time. It's balls-to-the-wall insanity but in a good way.

Look, it was the 90s! Belligerent sexual tension was all the rage!
Look, it was the 90s! Belligerent sexual tension was all the rage!

Puzzles From 2:30 pm to 4:50 pm - [Rating: 7/10] - So, there's a clue to an upcoming puzzle in the PDA video to watch after you're done with the evil Teletubbies I need to put on blast. During this video, you need to notice a character you have briefly seen before and note the symbols on their head. I'm not joking. You have to observe and take notes of shit on a person's skull using grainy found footage. Sam Barlow, eat your heart out because this game one-ups Immortality! After you jot down shit from a random person's cranium, remove the translator from your hands before moving to floor eight to re-enter the protagonist's hotel room. When you finish your business there, locate the PDA file with a drawing and materialize it into your inventory. Right, so the PDA can also defy the laws of physics and materialize items when you click on words representing those objects! I should have mentioned that earlier.

It's now time to check out the hotel's twelfth floor, named the "Fantasy Room." It's not as exciting as it sounds because it is time for the second time you need to fiddle around with the chip matrix! Again, this separate interface allows you to watch videos and recordings. Still, for these, you need to migrate a computer chip into an entirely different inventory slot from your main one. After that is settled, make a beeline for the Tiki Bar to watch a drunk patron chug your character's beverage and announce, "P-O-D-D; it's poddy time!" The guy even loudly gurgles the drink as if it is Listerine. The real highlight involves the protagonist having a drink with Lana Powers, which I will discuss shortly. The short quote by the drunk patron is your cue to consider returning to The Pod Room, but before you do that, return to the room with the police officer to learn a woman is hanging out in your hotel room. As weird as that sounds, it's time for the game to give you some much-needed "firepower!" That's right; the following PDA file gives you a laser gun! Finally, enter The Pods, and before entirely exiting, move Nikki's anklet into your character's hands.

Seriously, what is up with the random bits of animating clip art during cutscenes?
Seriously, what is up with the random bits of animating clip art during cutscenes?

Weirdest Video: It has to be the Tiki Bar scene with the drunk guy and Lana Powers. I was also a fan of the scene in the surveillance room as, upon finding out there's a random person there, you get to enjoy a twenty-second bit wherein a female starts reciting Lewis Carroll and Alice in Wonderland quotes. The payoff is that when the protagonist asks the only security guard in the room to investigate, they fob it off and say, "Eh, this kind of stuff happens all the time." This point makes the whole premise of the game, that being the leaders of the hotel are PISSED someone possibly got murdered in your room, all the more hilarious. But HOT DAMN, does the scene with Lana Powers embody 1990s Americana in its most potent concentration. While these two characters attempt to work out and process the death of Richie 7, the direction has 90s trapper keeper icons and graphics interject on the screen while their dialogue is happening. For example, when Lana provides hints about who to interrogate next, the game shows low-res images of animating swaying coconut palms that look like something you would find in Geocities. And all of this is happening while Lana is trying to hit on the main character. HILARIOUSLY, they don't see these flirtatious signals because this scene involving two characters describing a gruesome autopsy is meant to be comedic. This video game is an emotional rollercoaster.

I should mention that this is the interior of the elevators and how you pick floors you want to visit in the hotel.
I should mention that this is the interior of the elevators and how you pick floors you want to visit in the hotel.

Puzzles From 5:25 pm to 7:10 pm - [Rating: 9/10] - In a moment that drove me entirely up the wall, your character automatically hands over Nikki's anklet. Why the game has the foresight to burn an inventory item without any fussy exploratory nonsense here, but at no other part in the game makes me batty just thinking about it! After a quick one-on-one interaction and consulting a PDA file, you learn your next target involves the medical center. Upon entering, you find an alien interacting with the drug addict as the addict hands over a CD, which I should note all are just humans in different-looking clothing and have no makeup. They knock out the drug addict, and you steal their cybernetic eyeball. Once that's done, checking another PDA file should net you clip-on earrings that reveal themselves as belonging to Lana Powers. The next video has an INCREDIBLY frustrating trigger that I needed to look up using a guide. Instead of having you deliver the earrings to Lana Powers, the game requires you to go to the hotel lobby and approach the front desk. After watching the video here, it's time to apply the video from the eyeball into the Chipman Interface, and the steps are the same as before. Still, it would help if you also visited the Body Station, considering you are dealing with a human body part.

When your business in the Body Room is resolved, look at a new PDA file and locate a new message in your inventory. Before moving even one step further, move the eyeball into your character's hands, head down to the hotel lobby, and use the eye with the Tele-FX. You'll get another PDA but keep the eyeball active as you head to the room where you can find the police officers. While the eyeball breaks, the female officer offers to tinker with it to see if they can salvage any information, including a video implicating the Roman-styled humanoid aliens with criminal activities. This entire sequence is a colossal pain in the ass due to the game not following its rules and requiring new ways to trigger its events and story. For example, the previous two times when you used the Tele-FX, upon getting a transcript or chip, that was usually your cue that the item you used on the Tele-FX was no longer needed. However, in this case, you still need to carry the eyeball to complete an entirely different story cutscene.

Oh, now I KNOW for a fact this game will haunt my dreams!
Oh, now I KNOW for a fact this game will haunt my dreams!

Weirdest Video: Holy shit! It's the scene in the medical center wherein Jackson Standard, and yes, the names in this game are INCREDIBLE, gets punched by the Roman alien and his goon. His cybernetic eye gets knocked out, and the gaping hole in his socket spouts television static. Your character picks the eye up and, rather than hand it over immediately, turns it on so it plays the previous conversation Standard had with the alien. This video converts into a written document, and then your character PUTS THE EYE IN HIS INVENTORY! AND THE GAME DOES NOT CARE! YOU JUST UP AND STEAL THIS GUY'S EYE WHILE HE SCREAMS IN THE BACKGROUND IN AGONY! WHAT A DICK MOVE! Also, the game interjects with some montage backgrounds while you watch him writhe in pain which is incredibly creepy and evokes body horror themes like Tetsuo: The Iron Man, and I don't know if that was the full intent of the game's directors. Oh, and I forgot to mention that the protagonist breaks the eyeball when presenting it as evidence to the police officers in the surveillance room. You really do screw that guy over.

Oh, these aliens that speak and act like Romans sure are SOMETHING!
Oh, these aliens that speak and act like Romans sure are SOMETHING!

Puzzles From 7:55 pm to 11:10 pm - [Rating: 4/10] - After talking with the female police officer, your hands should be empty. Fill it with the laser gun, and when you board the elevator and attempt to head to the lobby, you should experience an AMAZING cutscene in the shuttle dock on the ground floor. You try to force information from the two Roman-looking gentlemen, but the larger one isn't having any of it. Despite being a total dick for the entire game, the Ace Ventura wannabe security guard comes to your rescue when the bodyguard for the Roman centurion-looking alien starts to beat up your character. He uses his taser and reveals that they got the eyeball working and want to take in the aliens for questioning. When this scene ends, you then review a treasure trove of messages and PDA files. Eventually, you'll need to migrate to the eleventh floor (i.e., The Pods). What remains is essentially a wrap-up for October 30th. The proper sequence is to explore the Fantasy Room and then the eighth floor after The Pods, but I have seen some reference sheets and guides say this is entirely unnecessary. Either way, this sequence is all about that glorious cutscene with the security guard, and the amount of fiddly inventory management is at an all-time low.

Weirdest Video: I love the security guard. After being an absolute pest and annoyance, he pulls through. When your protagonist attempts to confront the Roman-styled aliens about what they know about the mysterious murders or suicides, the rotund bodyguard does what all rotund bodyguards tend to do in movies and television shows of this era; they use their girth to push the protagonist away until they start clobbering them over the head. Even when your main character attempts to use the laser gun, the soldier manages to grab it out of their hand, but luckily that security guard is ready to shock the shit out of the Roman soldier with Mr. Sparky! When they spring their attack, they start spouting at the protagonist as if they are familiar allies that have been on a quest together for untold ages. They then escort the remaining alien to the police station holding the taser, which looks like a third-place middle school soccer trophy, and act as if they are carrying weapons of mass destruction. This allows you to pilfer the incapacitated bodyguard, which the security guard does not seem to mind.

A true friend will blast a random guy beating the shit out of you.
A true friend will blast a random guy beating the shit out of you.

If Giant Bomb were ever to give me any money, my first objective would be to complete Final Fantasy VIII for the viewing pleasure of Dan and Jan, and the second task would be an attempt to track down the actors in this game. At the very least, I need to know what happened to the person who played the security guard, Lewis Scudder. He has a hyperactive inflection, and while I have made references that their performance reminds me of Ace Ventura, it's possible they were convinced they were doing something completely new and novel. I don't know if they are a method actor, but the absolute commitment to their material makes me think they might be. For now, let's do a cursory glance at IMDB!

Wait a minute. What does that say?
Wait a minute. What does that say?
Oh... what the fuck?!
Oh... what the fuck?!
11 Comments