Thursday, October 9, 2014

Planet Alcatraz - Part 7: Checking out the Canyons. The search for Kruger continues.

Human Encounter: Great Canyon

Before we start, check out our heroes' loadout. They both carry Big Brother shotguns now.

It starts with a little cutscene. Boar is approached by a man named Angry. The first screenshot was taken in a previous run, so Boar still has his shirt, shoes and hat on. Never mind that. Also, I've included the full conversation here, so you can get a taste of the fine translation work.

Angry: Hey man, get over here!
Boar: I don't give alms on Fridays. What do you need?
Angry: Briefly. You don't seem stupid, so you must understand what is what.
(Sullen: The nerve! Mind if I shoot him in the face, Boar?
Boar: Not now, Sullen)
Angry: The deal is as easy as this: you can get some good stuff not far from here. Clothing, food and so on. We had arranged to smooth it out with some brat, but the little chicken just got lost. Or someone knocked him off.
Angry: Are you ready to replace him? Trump card!
Boar: Looks like I failed to understand the first time. Come on, man, tell me about it again!

He makes it sound so easy
Angry: Damn! Here's the plan in a nutshell: you go to a local merchant, stab him, drop his body down a well, grab the stuff: gold, diamonds and so on.
Angry: I'll be covering you from here, like a lookout. Then we run away and share the loot fairly. What's not clear about that?

Boar: Aha, now it's clear! Well, pal, you have a good plan! I've been living here for quite some time, so I suggest that your pusher must have his own se-cu-ri-ty. Probably you never even heard this word before, eh redneck?
Boar: Especially the morons – there is always a herd of huge security guards around the guys with money. I will be lookout while they shred you to pieces.

Note: Boar's vest is gone
Angry: Er… well what do you know! I guess I must have forgot about that part.
Angry: In short, I don't even know. Walk around the neighborhood, figure out what is what around here. Naturally, you can push your way through, kill them all, but maybe you've got some better ideas in your head. Just look at that head -- a nice, big, round one -- you must be a clever guy. And your friend looks like a full professor. {giggles}

Angry: Of course, my percent will be payable after completion of the operation. It's moderate!

Boar: Moron, the stuff you are offering is garbage. Make your mind up where exactly I should go and what exactly I should do. Well, I need the money though -- I will think about it. I'll tell you my decision later. Now I am going to scout your local millionaire.
Angry: Bro, don't forget to send my share!

After the cutscene is over, Boar whips out his gun and ...

Boar: Here's your share in advance, pal. A faceful of lead. How's that?

Sullen: And thanks for the clothes, buddy!
If you feel bad for this Angry guy, don't. At the end he'll try to rob Boar and Sullen and has to be killed before we can leave the map. Anyway, time to mess up that camp.

The guards at the entrance are spooked. And I've no idea what "Getting off!" means in this situation.

Boar and Sullen deal with them, as well as the patrols, without much problem.
A few enemies on this map carry Pipe Rifles, which is a step up from the Bolt Rifle, with better damage and critical hit chance. But Boar and Sullen won't be using them, due to their pathetic rate of fire.

Thanks to his superior vision, Sullen spots the group of guard standing around a campfire. They are completely oblivious to the sound of fighting just outside the gate. Seriously, unless they spot an enemy or get alerted by an ally, they won't start chasing you.

Sullen: Fire in the hole!

Boom! Three injured, including two crits!

Then comes the familiar tactics: rush inside the nearest house and make a stand. But we have to clear this one out first.

Sullen gets hit by a few crits, but nothing to serious.

After the first group is done, I take a quick glance at the remainder of the camp. About 10 enemies left, all staying inside houses now and will only attack when I get close.

This guy charged out of the house and almost killed Sullen.

Whoa, what do you know? That's actually the rogue chef. He wears light body armor. This version only protects from the front and the back. Also it doesn't reduce damage by itself, but has pockets containing armor plates, which do the damage reduction.

Snuggling inside a house and defending against the last rogues.

Mission accomplished!

A quick look at our loots before heading back to the city. Boar and Sullen are carrying the Pipe Rifles to save as much inventory space as they can (the rifles are much bigger than the shotguns).
Boar rushes inside the gun shop. Notice the ring on the ground. It belongs to an abandoned quest back at the Industrial Zone. At this moment, I noticed that unlike regular items, quest items don't disappear when you drop them on the ground and leave the area.

Like Fallout's skill system, you have to spend 1 skill point to increase skills by 1 when the skill is under 100. With skills over 100, it becomes 2 skill point for each skill level. So, to save skill points, it's possible to use a few of drugs and items to temporarily lower some stats, and their corresponding skills, then raise them to 100.

In the screenshot below, Boar is drunk and stoned (I think he smoked the equivalent of a marijuana joint) and having a few critical wounds from the previous battle. His AGI and PER is lowered to 1, and most of his skills are reduced as a result. I take this opportunity to up his Heavy Weapons skill to 100.

Also, Boar and Sullen now have 4 perk points, enough for the "Happy Ticket" perk, which increase critical hit evasion by 30%.

After resting to get the booze and drugs out of their system, Boar and Sullen heads to the next encounter.

Human Encounter: The (Mediocre) Canyon

I forgot to take the screenshot, again.

Our two cadets are greeted by a dude wearing a big-ass golden chain with a dollar symbol. He's a slaver.

Slaver: Hey pal, where are you going?
Boar: I'm just enjoying the fresh air. Why do you ask?
Slaver: Cut the chitchat. I got a business offer for you, man, and I promise -- this could be a nice payday for you.
Boar: What's the deal?
Slaver: The deal is like this. Me and bros run the girls here. You know, accept the drop pods from the orbit, this and that. Gather them, dress them and deliver them in bulk. It's good money, you know. Enough for bread and water anyway. However, an unexpected thing happened.
Boar: What's that? Tell me the details!

Slaver: Usually the drop pods with the babes drop near our camp. This time either our spotter was mistaken, or the lander didn't have enough fuel, or maybe those Cerberus red hats didn't get their share… In other words, our babes were dropped in the totally wrong spot.
Slaver: Notice that people around here are very hostile -- I would say wild. Absolute maniacs. If they had found our babes, they must have turned into complete beasts – assuming they're not already.
Slaver: Frankly speaking, I don't want to stick my neck out, and you came just in time. You look like an authoritative man and, as I can see, you have a weapon with you. Will you help me to rescue the slaves and convey them to our camp?

Boar: Well, I see that's worth it. How are we going to get even? What if all your women are already gone for steaks? What am I going to get then?
Slaver: Our camp is located at the other side of ravine. If you get there alive – you'll receive money and food. For each girl delivered we pay separately. Which means the amount of the money you get depends entirely on you. {smirks}

If you read the Backstory post, you've already learned that the "babes" here are women who received death sentences. They aren't killed, but instead given supermodel bodies (gotta be it, right? I mean all the women have the same body type), sterilized and then dropped onto the prison planets (to keep the male population happy, maybe?). I wonder if dudes on deathrow receive the same treatment and get dumped onto a planet filled with chicks. Hmm...

Back to the task at hand. There are 4 landing capsules, each containing about 6-7 women. Gotta save them all from the murderous murderers and deliver them safely to the, uhm, slavers, for them to start a new life as, uhm, sex slaves and prostitutes. Best not to think about it.

The "beggars" are poorly equipped, and don't put up much of a fight.
The problem is to kill them quickly before they kill the women.

Boar picks up some intact sweater and a bone cap.There are an amazing amount of useless clothing items in this game.

After each drop zone is cleared of enemies, the girls there follow Boar and Sullen.
Boar: You're damn right, captain obvious!
Friendly fire is inevitable. And chaos ensues.
Boar: Let's just let these guys kill each other. To the next drop zone! (we'll come back and finish off the "victor" later)
Things went pretty well. We lost maybe 2,3 girls.
I can totally wear this dress. But I won't.
And here's the bizarre thing. The Hair is considered a piece of clothing too, though it's not removable.
Right, let's do a head count!
And they reach the other end of the canyon/gorge/ravine/whatever...

Boar, the great negotiator. As always. That 1 point in Charisma really pays off, doesn't it?
The slavers are surprisingly patient, and they do keep their words.
Boar: Nice to meet someone that holds up their end of the deal for a change, eh?
At this point, Boar notes that they can get on with the next part of the mission: finding Kruger.
Boar tries stealing from the slavers to check out their equipment. Not wanting to gain any more xp from this map, he decides against fighting them.
The loot is not as nice as the previous area, but can still fetch 50 thousand coins or so.
Our heroes take another look at the slaver's camp, then leave for Northern city.

A lead on Kruger

Boar and Sullen go back to Blackie for a briefing.
And, by sheer coincidence, he happens to have a lead on the spaceship. Not Kruger but, y' know, still some progress.
And this Hans guy is standing at the market, talking to some overseer.
It turns out he's reporting a kidnapping. But the guard don't seem that interested in solving a kidnapping case on a planet full of convicted killers and cannibals.

A quick peek at Han's inventory reveals that he's a Legionnaire (a.k.a Aryan) officer (for the record, Martha's description also implies she's German as well). It takes serious balls to wear this out of Stoneguard, apparently. And the jacket change color during cutscenes for some reason.
Boar approaches Hans and immediately inquires about the construction site. Hans, obviously under stress, flips out and calls him "MISTER TALENT." I guess this is some Russian phrase that just got lost in translation, like many other things.
I haven't included any screenshot of Martha here yet, but she's a weapon vendor that usually stands in the stall behind Hans. She sells various modified firearms, which are not as good as the ones you pay money to modify, but still better than the normal ones.

Boar makes a deal with Hans. He'll find the daughter, and Hans will tell him about the construction site.
Gotta be careful here. Don't mention Blacky to Hans. 
And a tiny cutscene plays, in which Boar talks to himself "Time to see Blacky." I really hope he's not saying it out loud. 
Back at Blacky's
Now I really wanna punch Blacky in the face. He met Sullen and Kruger, and he sent them both on some errand mission that get them lost. Isn't my mission hard enough already?
Blacky justifies his action by claiming he ordered the kidnapping of Martha to get Hans to talk. We also learned that Kruger is a bit of a psychopath here. Big surprise.
Boar: So, the cannibals was looking around to kidnap someone. Kruger and Martha didn't show up yet, so it's likely that they've been captured by cannibals. Excellent deduction (roll eyes)

Boar asks a few things about the cannibal. It's a bit different from what I read in the manual, but not that big of a deal.

So, by following this lead to Hans' daughter, we'll get to Kruger as well, and probably will learn something more about the spaceship. Not bad, after all.

Boar and Sullen heads to the market and armor up, as the next encounters will be rather tough. Studded leather pants, Iron chain mail and Body Armor, along with some Steel plates to put in the armor.

Armor (including helments, chain mails, body armor and shoes) have multiple effects.
  • Damage reduction (called "armor" in the game): deducted from weapon damage. Each body part have different armor rating, depending on the equipment. The body is usually most heavily armored, and the head is the most lightly armored (most of the enemies we've seen so far don't wear any helmet), so headshots using shotgun at close range are very powerful at this stage.
  • Melee defense (a.k.a "armor class" in various role playing games): increases chance to avoid melee damage altogether. If the attacker's Melee attack is equal to the target's Melee defense, chance to hit is 50%. Better attack stat increases chance to hit, better defense stat reduces chance to hit. Because of this mechanism, melee loses its appeal very fast, since most human enemies have ridiculously good Melee defense.
  • Critical hit avoidance: (this part is from my experience) When an attack connects, a random number from 1-100 is chosen. If the number is less than the character's Critical hit chance, then that hit becomes a critical. Afterwards, a random number from 1-100 is chosen again, this time compared against the target's Critical hit avoidance. If the check succeeds, the target avoids the critical hit altogether.
  • Attitude: Having better weapon and armor makes the character more intimidating, which makes robbing and people easier.
This is shirtless Boar's stat.
And this is him after wearing armor. There's no penalty for not wearing shoes, so our heroes are still bare footed.

Let's go back to Hans and share with him the lead to Cannibal village. We'll leave Blacky's name out, of course.
After that, Boar makes a quick stop at Master Fly nearby, and improve (reinforce) the pants and the helmet.
The modified armor have most of its stat increased. It's expensive at first, but after a while you'll have more money than you can spend, if you play your cards right.
The courier monk's still waiting for me to give him this message and direct me to Blacky's office. Poor guy.
Okay, Hans. Let's go.

Encounter: Baboon Race

On the way to Cannibal Village, the party has to pass a jungle.
 The inhabitants include: Baboons, Baboons with knives, Gorriloids...
And Gorriloids with clubs
There's a quirk in the Gorriloid's AI that can be exploited. If the character stands near a chokepoint, just out of its reach, it will stand in one place and get killed easily.
Boar and Sullen level up one or twice each.
The other effective tactics is to set Boar and Sullen to Defensive mode (hold position, shoot enemies in range), and let Hans run in circle around them. This works against Gorriloids as well as the Baboon, which always pursue the target with the least HP. As usual, engaging one or two enemies at a time for safety.
Eventually, all of the animals are dead.
OK. Time out, guys.

Hans seems desperate...
Yet Boar still wants to take his time...
Some of the Baboons drop necklaces, but nothing special.

Time to move on to ...

Cannibal Village

That's the village center in the loading screen art. Looks like a guy in monk robe is about to stab the sacrifice. Not exactly what the manual said, eh?
So, here we are at the entrance. Quite a few cages about. Looks like the slaving business is good.
As the team makes their way to the entrance, they are stopped by a guy called "Elder" in chain mail and wearing a kamelaukion.
Apparently Hans is a persona non grata here. So he'll have to stay behind.

Also, the "kung-fu" dialog here is used to replace "Saint Kondrat" in the Russian version. The Cannibals don't tolerate St. Kondrat followers, not kung-fu practitioner.
The Elder is satisfied and let them in. At the village center, near the sacrificial altar, inside the cages, are Martha and Kruger.

Next part: We get Kruger out and, yes, do some of Kruger's quests.

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