From The Adventure Gamer
Doug Nuts here again. Being a genius, I usually like to get by in the world using my brains. This time, however, my legs have done most of the job
Last time I left off trying to figure out how to win the grand opening competition at the restaurant Kaizen-Sushi (or Kaiten-Zushi. I’ve stopped caring). The prize is an all-you-can-eat meal at the restaurant. I’m 99% certain I need this to give to Dino, in exchange for a ticket to tonight’s Sumo match, which I need to give to the taxi driver to have him take me to the monastery.
Also, I had a voucher for a free bean tasting at the very same restaurant. I couldn’t figure out if Doug already received the beans when I presented the voucher, or if I was supposed to pick them up somehow, but according to commenter Vetinari, Doug ate them on the spot. So I hope I’m good.
Back to the job at hand. Now, maybe my adventure gaming skills are getting rusty in an age of easily accessible, hand-holding AAA-games, but I feel that a lot of this play session was all about brute force. It’s a good thing my metro ticket is an all-day pass, or I would be in big trouble. Also, I’m all but ready to declare Doug’s wrench this chapter’s MVP ( Most Valuable Pocket-filler ).
I’ll spare you most of the back-and-forth, train trips, park strolls and such, and jump right to my first new discovery. Let’s head back to Doug’s apartment and take a new look at his “larder”. You may remember me mentioning a radio in the previous post, that I could do anything with. Well, turns out that I can.
|Strange choice of words. And I think using a screwdriver would be more realistic, but I’ll take it.|
Using the wrench I’m able to “dismount” Doug’s radio, and I’m rewarded with…. a… thing! Ok, it looks like a speaker. Why oh why, game, couldn’t you include at least a mouse-over description of inventory items?
|Lower left item. It’s either a speaker or a propeller. Or a really weird hat.|
With my newfound appreciation for the wrench, I decide to use it wherever I can, and lo and behold:
|Chan to the rescue|
Finally some progress. Honest Chan accepts the wrench and will let me trade it in for either a large or a small pot. (He also lets me trade back afterwards). At this point, some cogs in my brain that I believed to be rusted shut, start moving again. My theory is: If one of the pots is the same size as the one in the restaurant, perhaps I can somehow fill it with balls and count them, so I can “guess” the correct number of balls and thus win the competition. Great stuff, but there’s one problem… What kind of balls are they, and where can I get some? Anyway, for now I’ll take the big pot.
|Yay! The pot is my|
I go check the department store again. I still have some flyers (dispensed bills), and one of them says something about “Sento baths” and something about soap. Maybe the balls are tiny soaps? But the department store still won’t open. I wonder how they manage to stay in business without customers. Maybe it’s invitation only.
Sigh, and here I had my hopes up. I roam around some more, and after a while, on my 56th (or so) ride on the metro, I notice a poster that I can interact with after the train leaves the station.
|More like come and lose, amirite?|
Ok, there was a section on Pachinko in the manual. I’m pasting in the whole thing for reference:
Pachinko is a typically Japanese form of fun, and also the most widespread. In Tyoko, for example, where the number of inhabitants is 1.732.461, at least 70% of Japanese men and 30% of the women play regularly. It consists of a machine half-way between a slot machine and a flipper. The game takes place on a vertical surface with holes in it and the nails hammered into it. The players ability consists of making a metal ball bounce on the nails so that it falls into the holes. In this way he can win more balls, until he has won enough or all the balls are finished. The balls won can be exchanged for prizes in proportion to their number. They usually consist of things one uses daily such as chocolate, perfume, cigarettes, and so on. Strictly speaking, exchanging the balls for money is prohibited, although it is a common practice throughout Japan. Scattered all over the country there are over 15.000 Pachinko halls. Each of these contains an average of over 200 machines, and when in use they make a deafening sound.
These tidbits of information about Japanese daily life are fun and interesting, but the thing that struck me about this was the word “balls”. They use little metal balls. Maybe the same ones that can fill my pot? Ok, I’m game. But where’s Subu? Is it a station like Kinza? I still have 100 yen, so I go back to dishonest Chan’s, and, as luck would have it, he sells me a ticket to Subu. One short metro ride later, and I have arrived at a brand new location! Now we’re getting somewhere.
|Expectation: Look at all the exits! I can go anywhere! – Reality: Only one works|
The Pachinko house is on the right, and boy are they all over this thing called “capacity management”.
|This guy is a placeholder for 70% of the city’s male population|
I don’t have any money or anything to play with, but I find a single ball in the deposit slot on the machine on the right. This is apparently where you buy ball, or exchange them for other stuff. I can insert the ball in the machine on the very left to play.
|Ignore the fact I’m supposed to be playing on the leftmost machine…|
Ok, so if I put the ball in and play, I will randomly(?) win or lose a ball. I can’t say I’ve done exhaustive research, but in my attempts, I never went below one or above four. Hardly enough to fill a large jar. To speed up the regular walking animation, I’ve cranked up the performance of Dosbox, and this probably caused me to not discover sooner that you can use items while the ball is in play. The game pauses when the action menu is up. Now, I didn’t have my wrench at the moment, having traded it in for the jar, but looking at the options, I remembered that loudspeakers are built using magnets, so perhaps that could be used to affect the ball? Yes!
Ok, great. But how do I get them into the jar and count them? As I noted during the intro post, it doesn’t seem like it’s possible to combine items…. Only, suddenly it is…
Usually after I select an item, and then bring up the inventory/action menu again, the pointer changes back to the default one, but this time the balls remain attached to the pointer… I’m not 100% sure of the order of left-right clicks, but after some persistent mousework they combine successfully. With the balls in the jar, I can click the whole thing on Doug to count the balls.
|Fun fact. When guessing wildly at the restaurant before all this,
Doug guesses 7153, and the chef tells him it’s way off….
Back to the restaurant then. When I get there and talk to the chef, though, there’s no dialogue option to guess the number of balls again! Drat… oh, but after I look at the contest jar one more time, I get the option back. Whew! Nice scare there, game. Doug guesses the correct number, and receives a voucher for an all-you-can-eat meal. Fast forward to the Kinza district, I meet Dino again and give him the voucher in exchange for a ticket to the sumo match.
|Err… Sure whatever, just give me the dang ticket.|
Another quick trip on the metro to meet the taxi driver, who thankfully is back in his spot. Giving him the Sumo ticket totally changes his tune.
|Fascinating how his forehead vein remains even when he’s smiling|
I could probably order a hit on someone after this, but I settle for asking for a ride to the monastery. Note that after this, the left exit on this screen leads right to the monastery, which is a nice touch.
|One does not simply *walk* into the Monastery|
As you can see from the screenshot, getting in to the monastery is going to take some effort. So far I haven’t found a jetpack, but if somebody could make one, it would have to be Doug “Einstein” Nuts, right? Anyway, there’s an intercom in an alcove in the wall that lets me call the gatekeeper or whatever. As I approach it, they greet me by my name. How did they know? Well, their zen discipline gives them some supernatural powers.
|The “intercom” looks like it’s just a duct that goes up|
Doug presents himself as a wannabe initiate, but the only way to join the order is if one of the other members “reaches a state of universal harmony with all” (read: dies) or I get a letter of introduction from someone very high up. Though they all look pretty high up from where I’m standing…
So it’s back to Tioko (sorry TBD) again to try to find out what I might have missed. At some point I try to trade the jar back to honest Chan. I get my wrench back, and I keep the balls. Hmm… ok? What did the manual say again… The balls are traded in for various items at the Pachinko halls. Ok, back to Subu district. When there I have only one option to trade for.
|There’s a Clinton joke in here somewhere|
So ok, cigars… New theory coming up…. What if… I go find one of those monk dudes who walk around the city aaaaand…. Offer him a cigar. He smokes himself to death, and…. No, it’s too silly. I still try, of course. But it doesn’t work. The only other thing I can think of using cigars for is to bypass laser based intrusion prevention systems (Yes, Space Quest 4, that’s on you)
I walk around town trying to offer the cigars to everyone I meet, and some point I enter Doug’s home, only to come face to face with a familiar…eh..face.
|Well, for you, I COULD be… Oh wait yeah, that IS me|
So I’m guessing each chapter will have some intersection with the others, which is a neat idea, in my opinion. As with Dino, Donna needs Doug to get her something, and she will in return provide something that Doug needs. More specifically she needs a sword, the “Katana Shinjuku”, but the person who has it is in prison. So she wants Doug to break her out. She sought out Doug because he’s an expert in “Money surgery”, which is a good example of the game’s at times strange English.
|Er… I think the word you’re looking for is “transplantation”, Doug|
In return for freeing the prisoner, Doug requests a letter of introduction from someone high up, and Donna claims to know the emperor (of… Ti/yoko? Of Japan? Why does he live here?), so she agrees to provide this. She leaves Doug with a parting gift before exiting stage right.
|Donna certainly lives up to her last name (Fatale)|
I haven’t the slightest idea how to get back to prison, or if it’s even the same prison, but I figure it’s time to talk to Max & Kos again, the fourth wall breaking game developers sitting in the Hot Sushi bar to see if they have any more information. They do in fact know how to get to the prison, but they will only part with this knowledge in exchange for some cigars. For once, I’m ahead of the game, even though this puts a damper on my plans to get a monk to smoke himself to death. They tell me you can get below the prison by entering the metro tunnel at the Subu station, so I head there. At the station, I can leave the screen on the right side.
|Doug sees hatch. Hatch has bolts. Wrench sees bolts. Bolts go bye.|
Going through the hatch, I arrive once again at a place similar to the one in Doug’s intro: The sewers.
|Hope it’s not a maze|
It IS a maze, but it’s not too bad this time, as I can find my way around it without having to map. On one screen I find a pick (maybe Doug’s from before?), and on another I end up below the prison.
|What’s behind window number 3?|
This screen is another example of my issues with the interface. Nowhere on the screen is there any indication of a hotspot if I just mouseover with the default pointer, but if select the pick, I get the option to make a hole on the third wall section from the left. Ok, fine. I make a hole, but it’s kind of small. Not large enough for a person to fit through. More like the one in the intro where I placed the plastic explosives…. Only I don’t have plastic explosives, just the detonator that came in the mail. Ok, I head home to check the mailbox again, and hooray! The explosives have arrived. I don’t quite understand why I couldn’t have gotten these together with the detonator, but there’s probably a reason. Back to the sewer.
I plant the explosives, move away and activate the detonator. Ka-BLAM! A woman emerges from the hole. Good thing she wasn’t sitting near the wall or anything in her probably gigantic cell with multiple walls that would surely protect her from unannounced explosions. Doug’s not too big on EHS, I presume.
|Well, first the dinosaurs came….|
As a reward for freeing her, she hands me a key to the sword, which is in a secret crypt in the “Residence”, which I presume is the house near the park, where I couldn’t interact with anything. Oh and, don’t they like, take away your belongings when you get sent to prison? Where exactly did you keep this key? Or maybe I don’t want to know…
I head back up and go to the Residence, where I still can’t do anything. But perhaps Doug isn’t supposed to get the sword by himself? I try going home instead, and meet Donna again. We exchange quest items, and I think I’m finally ready to go monastery…ing.
Back at the monastery, the guy in the intercom seems to accept my letter of introduction, so they lower a makeshift elevator.
|Eh… where’s the rope?|
|According to Google Translate, it means “I don’t like bride position”.. Reiko..?|
|Ahem, if I may direct your attention to this letter by the EMPEROR…!|
Despite coming highly recommended by the emperor himself, they want me to perform chores to prove that I’m worthy. More specifically I’m to pick up the leaves scattered around on the ground. Leaf on, leaf off? Oh well. I’m given a stick and a sack to help me. After I’m done, I’m taken to see the Elder, which is a guy that floats upside down in the air.
|Yes, I too want to learn that floaty stuff.|
To be accepted I have to pass another test (of course), which is to answer 2 riddles correctly in a row. If I fail one of them, I have to go out and pick leaves again, then come back and try again.
It’s a big plus for the game, that so far it doesn’t seem to be possible to get dead-ended. I guess I’ll reserve final judgment for when I finish it, but so far, so good.
The elder’s riddles are mostly logic or sometimes math based. I’ll give you an example:
“The forbidden city is half as old as time. One thousand million years ago, the forbidden city was two fifths as old as the age of time in a thousand million years.”
This required a little bit of math to solve, but you get a choice of three possible answers, so you could also just guess. In case you want to try to solve this yourself, here’s the answer in ROT13: Gur sbeovqqra pvgl vf frira gubhfnaq zvyyvba lrnef byq.
I fail a couple of times, and one of the times, the guy with the glasses is gone when I enter the main building, which looks to be the monks’ dormitory.
There are several small chambers in here, and scattered throughout are many new additions to my inventory. To save some time, I’ll sum them up. I find: A Buddha figure(not jade), a sheet, some poison(!), 2 floor mats, a sexy magazine, a knife and a bowl of rice. That’s pretty random, but ok. One of the rooms also contains a large, golden Buddha statue.
|Thankfully it’s not the jade one|
I get back to leaf picking and riddle guessing, and after a couple of tries I’m admitted into the order, whatever that entails. The only difference I can spot, is that I have a new inventory item, that looks like Doug chanting or meditating.
|Or he’s been hit over the head with a large cartoon hammer|
A lot of new toys to play with, and I’m not sure what to do with them all, but the area to move around with is rather small, so brute forcing is a viable strategy. In the room with the Golden Buddha, I can use the meditation action/item to make the statue float. Guess Doug’s a pretty fast learner.
|If I were a buddhist, I’d take offence to somebody trying to speak “whale” to my idol.|
The statue rises a bit, but then goes back down. I’m not sure what the point was, but I’m here looking for a safe, and I’ve not seen one so far. Maybe the statue hides one, or a passage to it? I try to humm again and use the stick to hold the statue up, but it doesn’t work. It would probably be way too flimsy to support the weight of the statue anyway.
Out of options here, I go outside to try to find something to use my other newly acquired items for. One strange option presents itself.
|No! Bad Doug!|
Now this whole next sequence bit I didn’t understand until way after I was done, but it’s sort of starting to make sense now. I poison the fish in the pond, then throw them in the pot in the kitchen to make “fish glue”. Is that a thing that people know..? You can cook fish to make glue?? I had no idea, so I had to Google it, and apparently you can make some sort of glue from fish bladders. All the wiser now, I guess.
On the other side of the courtyard, there are a couple of birds nesting in the trees. During one conversation with the guy who introduced me to the elder, one of them echoed him as he was speaking. Just trying to combine stuff in my inventory I manage to apply the fish glue to one of the floor mats. I discover that I can leave the floor mat on the ground near the trees and put the bowl of rice next to it. Then the birds will fly down to eat rice and get stuck on the mat, after which I can capture them and stuff them in my sack. Poisoning fish and stuffing birds in sacks…. Don’t tell PETA about this game.
With the birds in my posession, the next time I humm the Golden Buddha, one of birds take over afterwards. And the statue floats all the way up, revealing a jade Buddha underneath it. Score! So I guess the statue WAS the safe.
|Guess the bird outranks Doug in the monk order hierarchy. Must be why he has that rad mohawk|
|I’ll just levi-take this|
Ok, goal achieved. Time to split. But how? I can’t seem to work the elevator. I thought about tying sheets and mats together to make a rope, but they can’t be combined.
Out by the fish pond, though, there are a couple of ropes tied around some poles, and with the knife, I can cut them down. Note that they do not show as a hotspot unless I have the knife as the active pointer. I’m still not too happy about that, but at least they’re fairly visible on the screen.
Again I struggle with combining things in the inventory. If I pick the ropes and try to use them on the sheet, it doesn’t work. If I pick up the sheet though, I can click it on the ropes to make a parachute. I can’t use the parachute explicitly, but if I run to the edge of the wall above the fish pond, Doug jumps off the side of the building.
With that, the chapter completes, and I’m back to the character selection questionnaire.
|What, can I play Doug again..?|
Who will I play next? Only time (and reading my next post) will tell!
Tyoko/Tioko (only 2 mentions this time):
Tioko: 8 Tyoko: 6
Times wrench used: 4