Saturday, September 6, 2014

Planet Alcatraz - Part 3: Industrial Area

Although technically, the whole planet is a prison, this is the part that looks most like one. More accurately, it's a labor camp, where convicts (who are unfortunate enough to get caught by dudes like Hamster and Gabriel) have to work until they can no longer work.

 Meet Wolf, the second-in-command (sort of) of the IA, and Hoover's assistant (we'll meet Hoover in a bit). He eyeballs the first captured convict and, seeing that the poor chap is sick and can barely work, he draws a pistol and kills him.

Boar: Whoa, that's pretty cruel, but I guess it's a better end than the crippled dude I saw earlier.
The second captured guy gets the outhouse cleaning duty, and Boar gets to shovel coal, since he looks stronger.
Here is where the coal shoveling will take place

Boar: Whoa, deja-vu. For some reason I feel like I've been here before. I know exactly which path to take, which I'll use to get out of here.

Boar talks to Goatee, who delivers some expositions and sets the atmosphere; more importantly, he triggers a way out.

There, you have the basic idea of how it's like in the IA. Long work hour, little food and less pay, no sick leave until you're dead, etc. In case you're wondering, this is what Smokey looks like.

When Boar gets to the important question of how to get off coal shoveling duties, Smokey cuts in

While most of the quests are linear, you occasionally get one featuring a branching point, which locks or unlocks a different set of NPCs and quests. Gameplay-wise, it basically boils down to how time-consuming each path it, and how much money and xp is rewarded.

Boar: I remember there being two routes to get out of here, being an Inner Guard or an Electrician. I think Electrician is faster, but which dialogue path to choose?

And... he chooses the first dialogue option.
What happens next is pretty much what you'd expect when someone talks smack to a boss in prison.

Boar: Ow, ow. Ouch! OK, enough. Do I get the game over screen now?

Nope. Boar gets locked up with Gallus, whom he ignores. After 5 seconds, Gabriel gets in, and takes boar to Hoover.

I forgot to take screenshot of conversation, but the short version of it is, Boar claims to be a good electrician, and gets transferred to Frankie's office.

Frankie test Boar's knowledge with a pop-quiz about electricity related... stuff.
Eventually, he seems pleased and appoints Boar as his "trial" assistant.

Boar, the curious guy that he is, inquires some more about his surroundings.

First task of utmost importance: Take the Black Square key, use it to open the locker and retrieve the Black Square.

As Boar approach the locked locker, Gallus psst' him,

And, in a conspiratorial tone (I imagine), Gallus proposes an escape plan.
Boar: Yeah, blurt out that you're trying to escape to someone you've barely known. Smart move, chump.

Boar ignores the guy and grabs the Black Square. There's also a carrot in the locker. Consider that payment.
 Upon giving the box to Frankie, it becomes apparent that Frankie has nothing else for him to do.

Gallus seems to be the only option now.
Phase 1: Get to the kitchen, steal a ladle, then go to the outhouse and scoop out the ammo, which will come in handy during the escape.
The Industrial Area consists of several sectors, each fulfilling a different purpose (to Boar, it's simply NPCs and quests). Some are locked until a certain quest gives access to them. Characters and locations related to activated quests are conveniently marked on the map, ensuring that you'll never get stuck (on the main quests, at least. Some side quests give no hint whatsoever).

The ladle is in a marked chest inside the kitchen. Done!

Now comes the hard part. Bizzarely enough, the cursor changes to the "talk" icon (it's not visible on the map due to the screen capturing software doesn't capture the cursor). I suspect there's an invisible man down the toilet and Boar's making conversations with him.
Yep. We're definitely in a conversation. "Scoop far", "scoop near", "scoop at the center". There's even a photo at the top right corner!

Eventually Boar gets a single round of 6mm ammo and, to be thorough, he scoops the rest of the crap. There's also a "metal ring covered in shit" here, but it belongs to a different quest route.

Boar brings back the 6mm round to Gallus, who, once again in a conspiratorial tone, reveals the next step of the plan.

He even knows how to put the "chicken" button. Damn!
Phase 2: Acquire a blueprint of the electrical grid in the area.
 No stealing necessary. Just talk to the guy who has it.
For a guy who just got in, Boar sure gets entrusted with important things a lot.

Boar: Ugh, too much information.
Anyway, this is what the electrical diagram looks like. All quest items have value of 0, cannot be sold and doesn't disappear when you drop them on the ground and leave the area.

Let's get back to Gallus now.

Boar: Whoa, deja vu. I remember giving the blueprint to him last time. What happened last time?

(In Shyamalan tone) What a tweest! A ploy to root out potential "escape artists"!
Boar then gets beat up, again. This time it's game over for real.

Hence, Boar takes the only remaining reasonable course of action, and report Gallus to Hoover.

Yep, that went well. Boar gets assigned as Wolf's bodyguard, considering his talent for getting everyone to entrust him with important things, even though they barely know him.
Hoover (re)introduces Boar with Wolf. Note how Wolf's expression barely changes throughout the whole conversation. The guy's just creepy that way.

As the Wolf and Boar get back to Wolf's office, Boar's talent shine again.
Honestly, planning to poison a guy who is literally standing on the other side of the wall. How stupid is this guy?
Anyway, note the part where Boar haggles the price to betray Hoover. In cases like this, a big "Attitude" stat ensures a higher level of success. Boar has negative attitude (courtesy of 1 Charisma) so he can only select the lousiest reward. Successful use of Attitude gives a very big chunk of xp rewards, so keep an eye out for these occasions.

Boar meets Gallus (this guy seems to be working for all parties here) and acquires Hoover's keys and a poison bottle. Also, The Matrix reference.
Yes, it's even labeled "Poison for Hoover". Just in case you want to show it to Hoover.
Which Boar does, in an alternate reality



Turning Wolf in results in a lengthy battle, and a bunch of unwanted XP. Let's just stick with Wolf's plan instead.

Wolf arranges a fight to draw Hoover out of his office

 And he stays with Wolf the whole time. Perfect alibi.

The moment the two are gone, Boar takes Hoover's vodka from his locked cabinet and mixes it with poison
 Then he locks the cabinet and the office door.
 Hoover gets back after a hard day's work.

 And take a swig (note how he drinks from an invisible bottle).
 Wow, that poison sure acts fast.
Wolf gloats for a few moment. Also, he's not having a stomachace, he's just laughing. And his expression. Doesn't. Change.
Man, these guys sure take their time to bury their ex-boss properly. Two days?
Anyway, to tie up any loose ends, Wolf framed another dude for the poisoning.
Boar and Owl goes to the "execution site" along with some poor shmuck named Jim.

Man, just look at that wall O.o
Boar: I'm sorry, Jimmy
Boar goes back to Wolf, who immediately appoints him as Outer Guard. I guess he could have killed Boar, but then he'll lose someone with such special "talents"

Nice, now Boar's an outer guard, and the remaining area is unlocked (The coal mine, which is only accessible in another quest route, remains inaccessible).
Boar gets a outer guard uniform, and a crappy "Rat" submachine gun.

Note: the attribute "Reliability" indicate the weapon's chance of firing properly. A 80% reliablility means the weapon has 1/5 chance of misfire everytime you pull the trigger. When the weapon misfires, you waste time to clear the jam before being able to fire again. You lose the ammo, and the weapon durability decreases.

Also, at this point, I'd like to show the game's Perk system. Every 3 level (6,9,12,15, etc), the character gains 1 perk point. Each perk cost from 1 to 6 points. There are 13 slots, each containing a selection of 3 perks, so there are 39 perks in total.

While most of these perks are crap (they add to skill points, etc), some are quite useful. The key is to spot which one. The first one I take here is Botanist, available at level 9 for 2 perk points. It gives 3 extra skill points per level. Considering the maximum level is 50 (actually you can reliably get to level 48, if you follow the shorter path), then with this perk taken at level 9, Boar will gain an extra (48-9)x3 = 117 skill points by the end of the game. Normally he gains 15 skill points per level (with INT 9), with this one he gains 18 points. It's essentially Fallout's Educated perk.

Back to the game now. The ticket to freedom is this train, which is used to transport weapon to Northern City. Also, Northen City is conveniently where Boar needs to go to meet his local agent.

As Boar approaches the locomotive, he's stopped by a guard named Clamp, and smoothly backs away.

Boar repeats this a few times, and Clamp eventually loses his temper and attacks.
Boar gets rid of him easily
His "Rat" SMG has higher Reliability than Boar's, for some reason.

Killing and looting done, Boar talks to Toot, the train operator.

They've barely spoken anything when...
The game sees disproportionate use of the phrase "Whack the bastard!" and its variants.

Fighting time!
Again, combat boils down to killing the most dangerous dude first, and heal when wounded. The Rat Smg is a big help here, but let's not waste too much ammo.

When combat is over, a cutscene will take over and there will be no time to loot. Thus, to get as much stuff as possible, Boar has to loot them immediately after they are killed. Pants and weapon are priorities, as they sell for more money. If you're wondering about the pantless corpses, that's the explanation.

 Last guard is killed! Quick, Boar, jump on the train!
As the train makes its way towards the Industrial Area gate, this guy simply lies down on the track and gets shredded.
My guess is that he was trying to commit suicide. Why didn't he hop on the train? Anyway, rest in pieces, bro.

To Part 4: Boar makes his way into Northern City and makes contact with his local agent.

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