Thursday, October 16, 2014

Planet Alcatraz - Part 8: Rogues, Monks and Four Smoking Barrels

A brief introduction of Kruger

(From the game's Russian manual)

Cadet Kruger

Tall body, wide as a wardrobe, the slogan "No mercy!" tatooed on his chest. The man's good-natured, by standards of a commando cadet. Patient to his team mates; to his enemies - merciless like a slaughterhouse worker. Very creative when it comes to "communicating" with prisoners, loves intricate torture. Not terribly disciplined, slightly lazy, enjoys comfort and tries to accomplish things with minimum efforts. Of all weapons, Kruger is particularly fond of shotguns. Loves to customize the shells by himself; once he meticulously hammer the pellets into cubical shapes, insisting to his team mates that they perform better than spherical ones.

In general, Kruger loves to experiment with upgrading ammunition any chance he has. For example, he tries the very soft steel for railgun ammo and, like the famous Indian gunsmiths, he creates his own Dum-Dum bullets by cuting their tips with a file, then sawing along the cuts into a cross-shape. Many jokes about Kruger say that his "customers" can always be certain about their future.

The second most favorite weapon of Kruger is a knife. He's a formidable knife-fighter, peerless even. In close quarter fights (with or without a knife), and at throwing bladed weapons, Kruger is simply better than most.

Freeing Kruger

Boar reaches the cage and speak to Kruger. Like Sullen, he keeps silence and pretends he doesn't know Boar.
Boar approaches Martha. From the conversation, we learned that she was kidnapped by Kruger when she left town with three bodyguards. Then they both get kidnapped by cannibals. Gotta be some kind of record for the person who gets kidnapped the most often in 15 minutes.
As if on cue, immediately when the conversation ends, Boar is approached by Gazdrubal, the assistant of father Windigo, the village shaman. In the screenshot below, he's the guy in black robe walking behind the slaver.
Note: Although it doesn't look like much, this conversation is actually one of the branching points in the game. Helping or refusing to help father Windigo opens up very different quest paths.

In this playthrough, I tell Gazdrubal to screw off, as Boar is on the verge of leveling up now, and I want to avoid that to get Kruger at one level lower.
After Gazdrubal walks away, Boar talks to Arby the slaver (the dude sitting in the chair in the previous screenshot). He buys Kruger and Martha out without any problem.
This thank-you scene is shorter and less "fun" than the one if Boar helps father Windigo.

Here's Kruger. Gotta love that face.

Let's have a quick look at Kruger's stats. In terms of skills, he's not very different from Boar and Sullen (decent Throwing, Melee and Imperial Weapon). The only significant difference is his much higher Perception, which makes him an excellent sniper and second scout. Also his Repair skill makes him a good candidate for the team's repairman. His problem is low Intelligence (thus lower skill points gain). I immediately select the Botanist perk for 3 extra skill points per level.
Let's head back to the entrance now.
Note the two bunkers and three Cannibals standing near the camp fire. We'll visit them in the next few updates.
And Hans is reunited with his adopted daughter.
Hans gives Boar 2000 coins and a Lavrentiy B. revolver, which sells for a little more than 2000. Either the Aryan officer gets extremely lousy pay, or he's really good at wasting money.

Back to Northern City we go.
A brief cut scene plays. Hans is probably retelling their adventure in the jungle, while Boar and Kruger laughs their asses off. Sullen, true to his name, does not find anything funny. Also note that Hans is still brandishing the Butcher knife he held during the Baboon Race encounter.
Alright, back to business now.
Kruger, like Sullen, spotted a few points of interest for our heroes to stock up on equipment and make some money.
Hans will stay near Martha's stand for now.
He's supposed to lead us to the construction site. But this quest is blocked until we complete Kruger's quests.
These ones.
And here they are on the map.
Boar talks to Martha, but she doesn't mention anything about the rescue. Disappointing. 
Anyway, we get a modified Pipe Rifle for Kruger. The modification is nothing fancy, only adds 5 to Heavy Weapon skill (so it increases from 59 to 64). He will be the team's designated marksman from now on.

As a side note, perhaps for game balancing reason, most rifles in the game are single shot (i.e they don't have a magazine and has to be reloaded after each shot). The only rifle with a 5-round box magazine only become available near the end of the game.

Kruger: Wait, Boar, I want my crit perk.
Boar: Kruger, I've thought about it. That perk sure is looks cool right now. And it is cool, as of now. But later on it'll become...
Boar: You see, Happy Ticket is a lot better, since you'll get hit less...
Kruger: I... WANT... MY... CRITICAL. HIT. PERK!!!
Boar: Ok, Fine!

And Kruger gets the Black Mark perk, which adds 10 to his chance to inflict critical hit. This perk is in the same slot as Happy Ticket (adds 30 to avoid critical hit), so he won't be able to select that one. He will crit more often, but will get critically hit more often than the other members as well.

With this perk, and the Pipe Rifle (which adds 15 to crit), Kruger gets a 34% chance to inflict critical. Which is pretty cool, as long as the enemy's chance to avoid critical stay low.

And here are our heroes, geared up before combat

Human Encounter: Police Village

As the cutscene starts, Boar is approached by a stranger asking him to deliver a passphrase to the leader of the police gang.

Unknown (?): Hey man, wait! I've got an urgent matter! {whispers furiously} This message needs to be delivered to warden Shersten. Can you do it?
Boar: Wait, wait! What Shersten, what village? I am not your postman!
Unknown (?): {noticeably feels nervous, looks round} It's too long to explain. Our cash is in danger, man. Just get to the elder and tell him the code sentence: "It's raining in Santiago!"
Boar: It looks like a frame. Sounds ridiculous. What the hell is going on?
Unknown (?): {glances at where just came from} I have to hide, my friend. I have to run. You didn't see me, I didn't see you. Szersten will pay you for the message. Send him Gnat's regards! So long!

And the guy runs off.

The guards at the entrances only allow Boar to go in alone.

Boar: This doesn't look good. What if the passphrase actually means "Eat shit and die!" and their boss wants my head?
Sullen: Well, I don't know. You try to stay alive while we kill our way to you?
Kruger: I suggest we kill the shit out of these bastards and loot their corpses. Better than anything that their "boss" can pay us for that message.
Boar: Fair enough. Roll out, brothers!

Our hero meet these patrols, who are happily strutting about like all is well in the world.

True, fellas. Life is cool, but death isn't.

We move to the corners and wipe out small groups of patrols and campers. Easy.
Let's hit the main camp now.
The moment we attack an enemy in the main camp, all hell breaks loose and every single enemy on the whole map turns hostile. Of course, the "Message delivery" quest is cancelled and replace with your typical "Kill'em all" quest.
Things are going well, until an enemy sneaks up and hits us with a grenade, killing Kruger instantly.
Load game!
Boar and Sullen draw fire, while Kruger tries to get critical headshots.
Many of these guy wear Policeman's Jacket, which looks rather cool but offer next to no protection. According to the description they draw negative attention, but I've never tried it.
These guys seem oblivious to the fighting going on. This'll get their attention.
The easy tactic, as alway, is to lure out and fight a few of them at a time.
Dead and done! Also, I've stripped the enemies of their clothes and dropped everything on the ground. A naked enemy is shorthand for "this guy has nothing left to loot".

Occasionally, enemies will fall down in the exact same place, and with the exact same pose. Looting the remaining corpse becomes impossible unless you throw in a grenade and gib the bodies.
The trio kill their way to Shersten without much trouble.
And here it is, chef Shersten's "office."
He stands inside, with two bodyguards.
Using their intelligence, the guys run out one by one...
...and get slaughtered. Mission accomplished.
Check out our haul after the fight!

Back at the market, repair all the stuff, sell all the stuff, etc etc.

Human Encounter 2: Trade Route

This encounter is probably the easiest of the four, and has the best rewards. For this mission, Boar and Sullen are armed with Big Brother shotguns, while Kruger carry the Pipe Rifle (i.e exactly the same as in the previous mission).

Cutscene time!
Boar: Hey, relax. I'm not here to kill you (yet)

Boar: Uhm, I mean, we'll help you kill all the bandits. Honest!
The mission is to kill all 4 waves of bandits and keep the caravan escort alive (if possible, it's okay if they die). This time, for a change, the quest is not "Kill'em all" but rather "Kill' em all, and (optionally) try to keep these dudes alive".
The first wave comes from the South East corner, armed with rifles, grenades and knives, etc
In this encounter, I choose to kill as few bandits as possible to avoid gaining xp. Specifically, I shoot them until they are nearly dead, then let the caravan guards finish them off.

After the first wave, our honest merchants are singed a little, but are mostly alive.
Second wave. The bandits seem quite fond of Incendiary grenades, a.k.a Molotov cocktails.
Second wave killed. The caravan guards are down to 4 now.
At the end of third wave, only 3 guys are left.
Now the final wave...

They close in for the melee, ignoring the burning fire.
All caravan guards are new dead, and the bandits turned to our heroes. Sullen, having lower HP than Boar, becomes the target of two bandits. Kruger stays far away and snipe with his Pipe Rifle, so the bandits don't bother him much.
Sullen's HP drops to 0 and he falls unconscious, but Boar and Kruger fights on. Eventually, all the bandits are killed. Sullen levels up once, which explain he is at full HP but still unconscious.
If the caravan guards are alive, one of them will give me the key for their "treasure chest". Now I'll have to loot it off their bodies.
Under the shirt, most of the caravan guards wear Steel Chain Mail, the best "inner" torso armor.
One of the bandits carry a Heavy Pipe Rifle, which performs better than Pipe Rifle (duh). Kruger's gonna enjoy this.
And here's the key.
Boar opens the chest to find...
The Breaker shotgun!
Here it is in close up.
Exclamation mark! We should be excited at this!

This gun fires 12-gauge shells, each shot releases 7 pellets, each pellet doing 4-7 damage. When shooting from all four barrels at the same time, the Breaker Shotgun's accumulated damage is 112-196! It has to be reloaded after each shot, but the result is completely worth it. Considering most human enemies are only lightly armored and have around 100-200 health at this point, this thing is extremely lethal at close range.

After looting the shotgun, the encounter is completed and we can leave the map.

Here's the aftermath.

And here it is, with all the items dropped on the ground.
Kruger's and Sullen's inventory.
Back at Northern City, Boar sells off the loot and buys a Repair Kit, which allow characters to repair equipment, as long as his Repair skill is higher than the item's complexity. Each item repaired, regardless of condition, consumes 1 "use" of the repair kit. The kit has 50 uses, so it's cheaper than dirt to repair items this way.

To improve Kruger's repair skill, Boar travels to Taipen District.
And talk to Coach Hu. He improves Kruger's skill by 12 (as he only has 6 INT). But every point counts.
Repairing items is done exactly like resting. I can repair items one by one, or repair everything in one go. There is no time limit on any quest, so like resting, the time consumed is irrelevant.

After selling off all the stuff, we have acquired nearlly 1 million coins. Time for some quality gears.

At the armor merchant, Cuirass has become available. It slows the characters down a bit, but offers much better protection and can be fully repaired (with 90 skill in Repair), unlike Body Armor, whose armor plates have to be replaced.
I buy a Knacker SMG for Boar, so he has better range. Sullen still keeps the Breaker shotgun for now.

Rogue Ravine

Boar succinctly briefs his comrades, for this and the other 20 encounters. Note the Gorriloid in the background.
First off, we kill the patrols at the north corner.
Kruger: Boom, headshot! (maniacal laughter)
Then, we head back at the starting location, waiting for the second group of patrol to walk by.
As this group walk by, the two Gorriloids (you can spot one of them in the first screenshot) notice them and attack.
They clean up the group nicely, saving us the trouble. I really don't mind the kill-stealing at this stage.
Boar then runs past the Gorriloid, to draw them to more human enemies.
There they are!
Boar makes his way back to Sullen and Kruger, while the Gorriloids switch their attention to the rogues. While two of the rogue fight the Gorriloid, the third one (unseen) runs back to their buddies and report sighting of Boar.
The guys that get alerted will inexplicably know where our heroes are hiding. And it gets crowded really fast.
And it gets pretty chaotic. It's a good thing we've got the Gorriloids here to soak up the grenade damage.
The gorriloids do pretty heavy damage, but eventually they will be overwhelmed and killed.
Infighting, in such a big crowd, is inevitable.
Letting the fighting rogues kill each other, our heroes make their way north-west and clear out the Northern camp
Each camp has at least one chest. All of them contain regular stuff (guns, armor, medkits, etc), nothing special.
Time for the Sourthern camp. We approach from such a direction that lets Kruger get a clean shot and enemies have to run in a straight line to get to him
One down...
The other dude starts throwing grenades, so we had to rush in and finish him off. Southern camp cleared. Pretty easy, considering most of these guys were already dead fighting the Gorriloids earlier.
One of the chest contain a single round of 14mm Armor Percing ammo, one of the rarest ammo types in the game.
Only the west camp is left. We slowly sneak towards them.
And say "Hi" with a big grenade that was looted earlier.
Don't panic he says.
Boar: Time to panick, boys!
The dude who gets critically hit by a grenade earlier is wounded in the leg. By the time he limps his way to us, we've already killed his buddies.
Kruger takes up position. Lying down provide a generous temporary 10 bonus points to the appropriate weapon skill.
Sullen moves up to spot, but for some reason he was spotted first.
Doesn't matter. Kruger's bullet finds its mark.
And down goes the leader.
The last four rogues aren't too happy about us killing their boss.
But they join him soon enough. Mission accomplished.
These guys are REALLY fond of shotguns, aren't they?

Prairie Monastery

Is it Prairie or Wasteland Monastery? It's among the mildest examples of the inconsistent translation.
Note: This part really has no subtitle. The camera zooms out a bit to reveal 3 monks.
Man, do people still say "whack" this day?
Once again, Boar reaches the logical solution: Kill 'em all.
These guy sure packs some serious heat for monks, don't you think?
Inside the (outer) gate, the brown-robed monks runs out to stop us.
As we reach the gate, we get interrupted by a cutscene.
All the explicit reference to St. Kondrat, or any religion for that matter, is removed.
This is the Founding Father of this "loony fanatics."
And after that line, he runs inside the chapel.
Boar: Hey, didn't you say you were going into the fight?

Boar: What, I didn't touch anything!
Anyway, the fight continues. It's rather annoying, as the area has virtually no cover, and the Monks all pack Bolt Rifles, so they have good range and can crit quite often.
So our heroes do the easy part first, they head to the west corner and kill all the apprentices.

A couple of monks, apparently trying to protect the apprentices, rush out the gate, then rush back in when they take damage.

This go on for quite a while, since our heroes are still crap at shooting things from farther than point-blank range.
The solution, again, is to find a house to defend. This one here is the only one with the door unlocked.
Some monks still accidentally shoots each other and start infighting. Apparently His Holy Teachings doesn't include "Don't shoot thy brother who had accidentally shot thee in the back!"
The guys who don't fight among themselves rush in the tiny house where our guys are camping, and gets slaughtered.
Eventually, the Founding Father has had enough and come out. At this stage, the translation doesn't seem to bother to match what's going on in the scene. And "Seven Gods of Kung Fu"? Seriously?
He whips out a unique triple-barreled shotgun! I'd be pretty excited if I hadn't already have my quad-barreled shotgun!
For some reason, when the cutscene ends, the Founding Father is still right outside the gate of the chapel. Normally he'd be teleported to a corner of the map, surrounded by his last disciples. Also, his robe is golden-brown here.
Whatever, less work for us.
That was easy.
We head inside the chapel and takes position at the door. Kruger equip the Knacker SMG since he doesn't need to snipe now.
Of the dozen enemies who rush in, only 3 or so carry guns, the rest use axes and pitchforks.
After surviving that zerg rush, the rest is easy: mop up the remaining guys. They completely lose morale and just run around randomly. This is also the only time I see this happen in this game.
Mission accomplished. Let's go back to Hans now.
The Founding Father has two Molotovs...
...and some bitchin' golden chain, plus a shiny Leader's Boots under that robe.
This here is the St. Trinity shotgun. It's mostly similar to the Breaker shotgun except, y' know, it only has 3 barrels.

The guys rummages the chests inside the cross-shaped chape.
Not much of a haul here, then again, this mission is not that tough.

Whew! That's a big update. In the next one, we'll follow a Han's lead to the spaceship, and "conveniently" find Demon.

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