And we’re back!
I should have mentioned last time, but there’s a ‘weather station’ (a big dome thing) that you can see off in the distance near Hibiscus Heights. Examining it yields the following intriguing dialogue from Azriel:
Sometimes I wish they would just shut off those things and stop mining once and for all.
…then I remember that we have to travel through space.
I have no idea what that means either, but I’m itching to find out.
(Actually, if I had to guess, they’re probably ‘mining’ Barracus – which, remember, is apparently a gas giant – for compounds that can be turned into spaceship fuel.)
The Hibiscus Highrise lobby is a fairly pleasant place, although another scary computer-voice mentions that unauthorised use of guns will be detected by ‘noise sensors’. No shooting, in other words.
After poking around for a few seconds, I stumble across a rather weird graphical bug. One thing I haven’t mentioned yet is that it’s sometimes possible to walk into the ‘background’ of a scene. Obviously this means that Azriel’s sprite has to shrink, since he’s getting further away from the fixed viewpoint of whichever scene he’s in. The way the game designers achieved this seems to involve scaling the sprite, which results in it growing blurry as it gets further away.
That’s not really too big an issue on its own. Unfortunately, it combines with an NPC sprite in the lobby to produce…this.
I have no idea if this is an issue with my graphics settings or if it’s a problem with the game. Either way, let’s just ignore it, shall we?
The receptionist is reluctant to just tell us where Matthias lives, but I use my quick space-assassin wits and pretend to be Matthias’ co-worker. The receptionist asks you what your occupation is, which means that you could seriously screw up here if you weren’t paying attention back at the terminal. After informing him that I am the PH-iest of PH Engineers, he gives me Mathias’s apartment number.
I have a strange feeling that something bad will happen if I get in the elevator (never trust video game elevators), so instead I take the luxurious stairwell.
I know Matthias is in 4E, but you can also check out every other floor, so I do. All six of them. Alas, none of the other apartments are open. (Yes, I checked all of them. I suspect they’re there in case you screw up with the receptionist and have to look for Matthias floor-by-floor.)
After a lot of faffing about I get to room 4E. There’s no answer when I knock on the door, but luckily I’ve got a lock-picking set! I’m starting to think our protagonist is a bit of a shady character.
…unfortunately, Matthias is the paranoid sort and installed an electric lock. Damn.
Because I’m a fan of wasting my own time, I already know that there’s a door to the roof on the sixth floor. We had no reason to go inside before, but I’m thinking Azriel might be more interested now that we need a way into Matthias’ apartment.
Only that doesn’t work. Uh. Maybe I can…pick the lock on the apartment next to his?
SUCCESS. I must be some kind of puzzle-solving savant.
(Note: I am not any kind of puzzle-solving savant, a fact that I’m sure will become abundantly clear in the not-too-distant future.)
Apartment 4C is dingy but otherwise unremarkable, so I head out to the balcony. First I have to remove a stick that’s jamming the balcony door shut. That seems…odd, but let’s roll with it.
After getting outside, I climb across to Matthias’s balcony. Unfortunately it’s locked, so I hit it with the stick from the previous apartment. This results in the stick getting jammed in the glass.
Man, I hope Mathtias and Azriel are on good terms.
After creating a hole in the glass, by kicking the stick through, I can open it from the outside and again entrance to Matthias’s extremely depressing apartment…at which point the police show up outside.
I try hiding in the closet, which doesn’t work. Then I try running back out onto the balcony, but before I can do that a police guy comes charging in and shoots me in the head.
Note to self: this is the kind of pointy-clicky game where you can die.
Next time around I try hiding out on the balcony, but forget to close the door behind me. The police guy notices this, follows me out and shoots me. Whoops,
Okay, third time’s the charm! I close the balcony door behind me, climb back out to the first apartment and then nonchalantly walk out into the hallway as the two police-guys are leaving. It turns out they’re actually members of the Boryokuden, which means that Matthias is in fairly serious trouble.
I go back into the apartment and check out Matthias’s personal console (a big box stuck to the wall), which gives me his phone number. Let’s give him a call.
Matthias tells Azriel to meet him at the ‘Winchester Building’, where they were stationed during the war, in ten minutes. Azriel asks about his brother, which is the first time he’s been mentioned, but Matthias gets cagey. That’s probably not a good sign.
Immediately after this we get an unexpected cut to Delta-Six, our memory-wiped friend from the first episode. More on that next time!