Invasion ZZT Revision

Released
Nov. 29, 2002
Genre
Adventure
Company
JPI/antiWARE
Size
172.3 KB
Boards
86 / 86
Rating
4.50 / 5.00

Closer Look: Invasion ZZT Revision (Part 2)

By: Dr. Dos
Date: July 15, 2020
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When We Left Off...

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When we last left off, Andrew had been caught and killed by two aliens. Sam had gone unnoticed and was able to hide and witness the whole event. Now alone on an alien vessel, Sam's only options were to begin exploring with an immediate goal of finding a way to get Anne on board, and hoping to find his missing dog and stop the invasion as well. Ideally this will all happen before the ship returns to space with him aboard.

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As with the previous half, there's plenty of alien technology around, but nothing to actually interact with. The only thing that gets a response from Sam is one computer where he doesn't understand the operating system and can't do anything with it. Things open up a bit here with three paths to take, but the game remains functionally linear as attempting to access areas without proper items will lead to Sam being quickly caught and killed.

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Lucky for me, the only reason I know this is from looking things up afterwards. I happened to explore properly with my strategy of picking exits at random. The west area of the ship (on this floor, of which there are a few) looks to be mostly storage. There are plenty of crates and a few puddles of the purple gel which is the source of the aliens' energy and key component to their plan to engineer an indestructible ship.

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Although Sam doesn't have a stated plan, the next thing to do is hide in an empty bathroom stall to get the drop on an alien and take their outfit as a disguise. It's never been said what the aliens look like and I can't imagine anything where a human can just throw on some clothes and fool these beings into thinking Sam is the same species as they are.

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In what turns out to be a solution to a very ZZT problem of where to put objects that walk into the room without blocking the actual passage that leads to the room, this men's room has a second entrance that requires a keycard. This is just so invisible objects can more easily walk inside from the outer area of the room.

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Please enjoy this weird moment of Sam scoping out aliens that have to relieve themselves.

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After the first alien leaves, another enters that's better sized for Sam's plan.

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This is where I realized the toilets don't have any doors. Alien cultures I suppose.

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Sam shoots the poor fool and collects the outfit. This disguise will be perfect. Sam can actually shoot the first alien, realize the clothes won't fit, and lament that he killed somebody for nothing, which is rather dark given Sam's personality throughout this game. Doing this also causes the second alien to immediately realize a human is here and begin attacking.

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Immediately after putting on his disguise Sam is instantly recognized by an alien. Luckily for Sam it's one of the resistance fighters who are working against the invasion.

RenegadeAlien
  •    •    •    •    •    •    •    •    •
Hmm... Human.
You were present at the defeat of Mar 37X
correct?

▓░> Sam <▓░
...

Fear not Sam.
My name is FLO 333. I am from the same
underground resistance as Mar 37X was.

▓░> Sam <▓░
Really?

Yes. We have a few men posted within the
ship. We're taking it down!

▓░> Sam <▓░
Isin't this a storage area?

Yes, Why?

▓░> Sam <▓░
The animals that were stolen, where
were they taken?

Ah yes. They were used as slaves and
when found to be weak they were taken
to the medical area for testing.

▓░> Sam <▓░
Oh no! This is terrible!

Indeed.
Sam, we are having trouble getting our
men into the control room and engine
rooms. You must help us.

One of my men is near the engine room.
Find him and tell him this password...

IMA.

It is the name of his youngest child
spelled backwards. He allways uses that
as a password.

▓░> Sam <▓░
Ami?

Yes, but spell it backwards. Ami is one
that can be guessed easily.

He needs you as cover while he does his
business...

▓░> Sam <▓░
Once we complete the engine
sabatoge, what will happen?

Our plan is very dependant on other parts
of our plan. We first get on the ship and
disguise ourselves. Then we make it so the
U.F.O. can't leave for space. After that
we gradually climb our way to the top
and destroy the leader, forcing the
surrender of the other servants.

▓░> Sam <▓░
It sounds good. One question...
What is the comet?

I do not know. Nobody has any idea.
We assume it is a type of mother ship
however from what we can tell, the
monster behind the invasion is here
in the ship.

You must hurry!

Take what you find in these crates
from my storage area, I'll be changing
jobs as soon as the coast is clear anyway.
  •    •    •    •    •    •    •    •    •

This is probably the best news that Sam's had all day. Suddenly the scenario has changed dramatically. This isn't two humans versus an entire ship filled with hostile aliens, there's a whole resistance movement and there are secret allies everywhere. These interstellar travelers abducted various animals from Earth to use as slaves and only later did they realize they were not very good slaves. I feel like they should've been able to figure this one out before abducting a random kid's dog. Most importantly though, Sam learning of the resistance means not having to come up with his own plan. The resistance has a far better knowledge of what needs to be done and how to accomplish their goals, and a lot of this second half of the game will be working with other friendly aliens to accomplish them.

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Checking out the crates being guarded gives Sam a few supplies. Two of them contain health pills that restore 100 health. One contains another of the gems needed for the bonus dungeon, and the last one contains ten torches. Previously, a torch was used to burn away some purple gel, and there's enough on board the ship that it would make sense for it to be used in that way again. It would also make sense to use torches as a light source in dark boards. In reality, they're completely pointless. I've got ten torches from one of these boxes and I'll have ten at the end of the game. There are no dark boards or gel to burn. I'm very curious if there was going to be a purpose for them that got scrapped or what.

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The animal storage area has been almost completely emptied out except for none other than Bessey the talking Moo!

Bessey the talking Moo
  •    •    •    •    •    •    •    •    •
*Sniff*
*Sniff*

Holy geez! Sam! Is that you?

▓░> Sam <▓░
Hey Bessey, Why are you here?

Well, I was taking a walk and these 3 guys
came out of nowhere and took me to this
ship.

▓░> Sam <▓░
Where are the others?

Ah yes, well I was apparantely to useless
to me slave labor and too different from
the subjects they wanted for testing, so
they left me here. As for the others,
yes Sam, your doggy was in there, they
were taken to the medical labs for some
kind of testing.

▓░> Sam <▓░
Why did they do it Bessey?

I haven't figured it out yet. I did find
out that the purple gel and some odd gems
are connected to the powere source of
some kind of new shield device that can
offer incredible protection.

▓░> Sam <▓░
Yea, Anne and I found that out at the
old mill.

Oh.

Anyway, I did see Anne earlier. She was
looking for a costume to hide in.

▓░> Sam <▓░
Anne's on the ship?!

Yup! The guards said something about the
intruder being terminated and they left.
I was afraid they got you.

▓░> Sam <▓░
No... They go Andrew.

Oh dear!
Are you alright Sam?

▓░> Sam <▓░
Yea, I guess. He sure had a good life.
I hope he doesn't miss it that much.

Andrew adapts quite quickly to situations.
I bet he's already found some type of
motor to tinker on wherever he is.

▓░> Sam <▓░
He-He.
You're probably right.

Anyway Sam, I hate to sound rude but you
really should get going. The last I saw
Anne she was in the woman's bathroom but
she said she was going to the cafeteria
to gather information.

▓░> Sam <▓░
Thanks Bessey!

Anytime Sam.
I'm gonna get out of here. I hope we
can meet on better terms later on. Like
at the ending of the game.

▓░> Sam <▓░
Huh?

See ya!
  •    •    •    •    •    •    •    •    •

I do find it very funny that the talking cow has discovered the connection between the gel and the invasion and Sam is just like "I already know that". Bessey does offer a decent lead on Sam's missing doggy, and also does get to successfully provide a bit of comfort to Sam who is not getting the opportunity to grieve for Andrew. She also breaks the fourth wall to Sam's confusion. I love it. What a strange character!

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Heading back to the central hub where Sam and Andrew arrived, I did discover that I missed a sign with a rough outline of the ship's structure. There are four floors and quite a few locations contained across them, and none of this is for flavoring. Sam will absolutely be going to every single one of these places on his mission.

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The overview of the ship doesn't give any directions, so you're still stuck wandering around, but at least there's some idea of what to expect on each floor. Heading south we get one of these warnings from Princess Alena about the potential for instant death if you try to go out of sequence. Sam's already got his disguise so he's good to go here.

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The entertainment area is pretty massive and takes up the rest of the floor that hasn't been explored. This part of the game is enjoyable since Sam gets to talk to so many aliens and learn about their day-to-day drama.

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These range from oversleeping...

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...to being devastated that the Internet is currently down.

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Once Sam reaches the front of the line he is deemed cool and allowed to enter.

Sign
  •    •    •    •    •    •    •    •    •
▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓
▓ Internet connections ▓
▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓

The JPI OS computers are connected
to the internet. Please purchace a key
card from the bar area to get online.

RULES.
Accessing pornography of any species
(DON'T PRETEND IT DOSEN'T HAPPEN!) is
a sick and punishible act. You will die
if caught.

Any racism or hate promoting sites are
forbidden, unless of course it's anti-
human sites.

** AS OF LAST WEEK
Sadly our goverment has found an alternate
operating system for the PC's. They will
currently remain offline until the
change is complete.
  •    •    •    •    •    •    •    •    •

Death penalty for porn. I see. I kind of wonder if this is supposed to be a moral judgment or not since this is the evil alien rules and not framed as something immoral for humanity. Or you know, maybe it just means not to look at porn in a common space, that's also pretty reasonable. There is definitely this issue with the aliens where they're simultaneously supposed to be giving good critique of humanity's failures but overreacting to them with their "take over everything" plan which leads to things like "aliens don't like racism" because they're better than that while simultaneously having to be the bad guys so a "human racism okay" exception needs to be carved.

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This is the new operating system the aliens just switched to that's causing issues with going online.

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With his disguise, Sam can talk to all the aliens in the social area if he wants, and get little conversations like this where we're back to the aliens dunking on humanity.

Alien
  •    •    •    •    •    •    •    •    •
There was a cat that we brought aboard.
Her name was Azuza. Man she was really
cute but had some reall nasty claws.

▓░> Sam <▓░
A cat huh? I love cats.

Me too

▓░> Sam <▓░
Where do they happen to be anyway?

The animals or the cat?

▓░> Sam <▓░
All the animals.

Oh, they started out as slaves under
conrol to help dig an underground area
but they were slow and stupid. We took
them to the 2rd floor storage. I have no
idea what we can do with them now...

▓░> Sam <▓░
Well, I guess I had better get going...
  •    •    •    •    •    •    •    •    •

I still think it's really funny that the aliens abducted a bunch of animals only to find out they make horrible slaves. I'm kind of amazed there isn't an explicit subplot about trying out using humans instead.

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Given how many ZZT worlds have arcades of some sort, I was a little disappointed that this was the kind of thing Sam wouldn't spend any time on.

Alien
  •    •    •    •    •    •    •    •    •
I hate being a designated driver.

▓░> Sam <▓░
I sure you would appreciate it if others
were responsible.

What if your daughter and her new
boyfriend are flying home late from a
date and they meet a drunk driver...

What if...

You should be proud to be the
designated driver!

MY DAUGHTER HAS A BOYFRIEND!

AAAAGGGGGGHHHH!!!!!!
  •    •    •    •    •    •    •    •    •

The morality lessons in the second half of the game are a lot more forced. Again, it's pretty straight-forward and easily agreeable stuff. Drunk driving is indeed bad. Thanks Sam. At least Alena turns this one into a joke by having the alien completely miss the point.

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Next we get something a little more exciting. While Sam won't check out the arcade, he will definitely check out the arena. All the aliens in the crowd are excited and asking who Sam bet on, but you're unable to actually do so. You can watch the event by sitting down in the empty spot in the stands.

FightRing
  •    •    •    •    •    •    •    •    •
▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓
▓ F I G H T ! ▓
▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓

Welcome everyone! Tonights match will be
a massive one! This 3 round tournament
battle will decide once and for all who
is indeed the strongest of the fighters!

Fret not, they are equipped with special
weapons so do NOT try this at home!

All right!
The first round is about to begin!
It's Alena Vs. Billy!
  •    •    •    •    •    •    •    •    •

It's not a blood-sport at least, which maybe it should have been to make the aliens seem more menacing. Take note that one of the fighters is named "Alena". This is definitely the author putting herself in the game.

I fully expected this to just be two objects moving and shooting randomly with the winner being whichever one doesn't get shot first, instead it's like a very crude scripted fight. Alena wins her match, and then MysteryX breaks kayfabe and does in fact try to kill his opponent.

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All of this so Alena can kick this dude's ass by not fighting with pure aggression. "Now you are a murderer and a looser." is a good line.

FightRing
  •    •    •    •    •    •    •    •    •
Wow!
it looks like Princess Alena is the
ultimate fight champion!

I also have recieved some good news from
the medic bay. It seems Mr. Tough will be
alright after all!

Princess Alena everyone!
What a champion!

Please come back next week when the
lovely new princess will put her new
title on the line against Pepsi the
flesh melter, a former champ in the
hardcore division!

See ya fight fans!
  •    •    •    •    •    •    •    •    •

In the first half I mentioned how I wanted to hear about Daniel and Dollar and whatever their weird adventure was, but was invested in Sam's adventure enough that it didn't bug me to not get to know what was up with those guys. Here I so desperately want to see "Pepsi the flesh melter", more than anything else.

Alena
  •    •    •    •    •    •    •    •    •
Hey.
Thanks for rooting for me out there.

You're not from around here are you?

▓░> Sam <▓░
???

it's O.K., neither am I. I am one of the
renegades.

The engine room has been empty for a
while. I hope our man had the time to
fix the engine so this dumpy ship can't
take off into space.

▓> Sam <▓░
I'll go check it out!

Nice.
By the way. I hear Anne is downstairs. She
wanted me to give you this gem.

#give gems 1

▓░> Sam <▓░
Thanks!

Good luck kid. I hope you can find Anne
and our man in the engine room.

Talk to the guard if you haven't already.
The guard of the storage area is one of
ours! He will tell you the plan.
  •    •    •    •    •    •    •    •    •

Alena (the character) is with the renegades. It's a good thing since Sam just openly admits to her in the middle of the arena while a crowd of people are still around that he's one of them first (Update: I completely misread this text and for some reason thought it was Sam saying he was with the renegades. I have no idea what my brain my was with the "neither am I" sentence if I thought that was Sam's dialog). Alena helps advance the story a little by letting Sam know that Anne has found a way onto the ship and that there are more anti-invasion rebels in the engine room.

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On the last area of this floor we finally get to see the room to the right of the transporter room Sam and Andrew entered from. One last pile of purple gel keeps this area from being accessed early making this whole area really linear when you consider that Sam will be killed if he doesn't get a uniform before heading to the commons first.

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Up top is this one sign that doesn't quite look like the others on the ship. This reveals a hidden area if Sam decides to thoroughly explore the lounge.

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The secret exit leads to this strange mostly empty room lines with some torches and somebody sitting at a desk waiting for Sam to take a seat on the opposite side.

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Just kidding. Despite the presence of a chair you're expected to go around and actually talk to the person directly.

JPI Programmer 001
  •    •    •    •    •    •    •    •    •
Hey Sam, welcome to the secret area of the
game.

I know you are a wise RPG player my
dear friend. You have found some gems and
have made it this far.

I will tell you the location of ALL the
gems. However you may have already set
off events that prevent you from getting
them all....

The entire game has hidden items in almost
every object of the game. Did you know
that in Anne's house is Artho (who is
actually MY cat) and a URL to my Web Page.
pretty sneaky promotion huh?

GEM  1: Treasure chest on cliff near the
        Old Mill
GEM  2: Inside the Old Mill
GEM  3: Your Uncle gives you a gem
GEM  4: Search the middle of the Old Pond
        where you all meet after the
        woods senario
GEM  5: A renegade in the Woods has one
GEM  6: The cavern to the UFO. Search the
        lower screen where there is a
        puddle of water. If you look at
        the area early on, you will see a
        flashing gem
GEM  7: Follow the Alien with the crate
        to the secret area. In one of the
        chests is a gem. I am glad you
        didn't get stuck there...
GEM  8: The guard near the washrooms in
        the storage area is on your side!
        talk to him and proceed to get a
        gem
GEM  9: A crate that is being watched by
        the sleeping guard on the first
        floor has the 9th gem
GEM 10: The final Gem is in the hands of
        the fight ring champion!

Now that you have the chance to get all
the gems you should try again to get all
of them (The game is much shorter the
2nd time around)!

When you have all the 10 gems a secret
dungeon will open up at the end credits.

Good Luck!
  •    •    •    •    •    •    •    •    •

This secret room is the programmer's room, except it seems to contain a generic programmer and not Alena who was too busy kicking ass in the arena. Odd choice, but that sounds like a more fun place to put yourself into your own game. At this point I had seven gems, missing actual gem number seven from the other secret board from earlier. That one and the one in the pond are really difficult to find on your own. The idea of an extra dungeon for a second playthrough sounds good, but in practice getting to it isn't going to considerably shorten the game. It's fairly linear and most of what you'd consider "optional" are taking the time to pick up gems in chests. It's only going to be faster if you skip over the mounds of dialog, but as text-heavy as Invasion ZZT is, the writing remains the star. Closing out all these scrolls would turn it into a dull walk through a mill and forest.

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Going back outside to talk to the aliens, Sam's disguise is apparently really good after all as this alien just assumes Sam is somebody of a higher rank. At least he finally gets a good answer for where his dog has been taken.

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I do like these little cultural touchstones. Pokemon, Game Boys, MS-DOS and now Powerpuff Girls get brought up for little reason other than to make sure you're aware they exist. With those last aliens, the floor Sam arrived on has finally been explored and it's time to descend a level.

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The ground level is significantly smaller, coming in at just two boards. You can see the main entrance to the ship along the bottom. Talking to Alena from earlier, Sam knows that Anne should be somewhere down here now, and finding her is probably the most important thing right now.

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Sam is still able to talk with everybody of course, but there's not a whole lot to say. The aliens on the left are having a meeting. What I hoped was a giant alien here is meant to be a statue and a fountain where the alien alongside is hoping the wish they made will come true.

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Up top in the small room full of boxes is the sleeping alien guard mentioned in the programmer's room as one of the locations of a gem.

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It's actually the only create with anything inside for Sam to collect. The rest are just full of trash. Don't these aliens have poubelles??

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I appreciate the joke, but it's killing me that everybody thinks Sam is some high ranking commander in the alien military and not "the new guy".

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The second half of this floor is the cafeteria. Again there's little to do other than speak with a handful of aliens that are sitting around.

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Really the longer the game goes on, the more you run into these sort of sympathetic aliens. This one isn't necessarily a rebel, but they're at least considering the violent nature of their society.

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This one random alien is actually mandatory to talk to. Once he gets up to complain about the pie, another alien gets up from her seat and bumps right into him causing a public scuffle.

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It's about to get violent, and while Sam can't interject, another alien watching the scene gets involved.

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Yet another renegade is killed for being a not awful person. Despite it being smart for Sam to not draw attention to himself, it feels out of character for him to just watch these events. Sam and his friends seem quite vocal about injustices, and while I get why in this situation he might find himself unable to say something, it's surprising that there's not even some sort of internal conflict. I think having Sam get out a single word only for the friendly alien to speak up over him might have been a better fit for this scene.

FemaleAlien
  •    •    •    •    •    •    •    •    •
▓░> Sam <▓░
Are you alright?

Huh? Oh, yes. Have we met before?
You sound very familiar.

Um... your'e shoe is untied...

▓░> Sam <▓░
That always happens.

(The female alien coughs your name)
*Cough* *Sam* *Cough

▓░> Sam <▓░
HUH?

Ohmygosh!
Sam! It's you!

▓░> Sam <▓░
Anne!?

Yea! I gotta go or else my cover will be
blown. Here, take this key. I'm headed
upstairs. You should be able to get up
there as well.

I'll likely be in the engine room! Don't
Worry, I'll find you..
  •    •    •    •    •    •    •    •    •

What's more in character is for Sam to speak with the girl afterwards. Again his disguise is seen through immediately, but this time it's because the other alien is a familiar face in disguise! Finally Anne and Sam are reunited, if just for a moment. It's a good thing that other alien interjected since Anne would surely have been discovered and killed, and the same fate that befell the renegade would have befallen Sam.

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I don't think it's possible for Sam to get to this point without talking to the storage room guard so this is an odd time to bring them up.

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Anne leaves behind a key and Sam has a new objective to head to the engine room.

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In a rare change of pace, these solid looks walls are actually objects that Sam can investigate. One last poubelle for the road.

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There's nothing left on the first floor, but there were stairs leading up to the third. The door prevents Sam from exploring too much before meeting with Anne. Two of the aliens are talking about the schedule for taking over the universe, with one explaining that they have the fuel made from the purple gel and all that remains is "sorting the slave labor" before they can begin the invasion proper.

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And then there's this other alien that managed to discover Marilyn Manson's "Astonishing Panorama of the Endtimes".

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For the most part, I haven't been a fan of the graphics for the UFO, but I do like how this board looks. Perhaps it's because the structure is so organized? This entire board is completely optional. There are no keys to collect or even important information about the invasion to learn, but it's got some fun moments when Sam does talk to some of the patients and staff.

Interaction
  •    •    •    •    •    •    •    •    •
@Paitent
Hey young man. My name is Grampa, but
most people call me Gramps.

▓░> Sam <▓░
Um.. Ok.

Yup, that's right. It is wierd, it seems
just 50 years ago I was 50 years younger.

▓░> Sam <▓░
That makes sence... Kinda.

Yup, that's right. Time flies my boy. Why
one day you will wake up 35 years older
and wonder where the time went. Treasure
this time boy, you only have 1 life.
Don't waste it like they want you to.

▓░> Sam <▓░
Good advice.

Yup, that's right. I remember this special
kid I met once, we had a talk about
aging.

▓░> Sam <▓░
You mean me?

Yup, that's right, and I will never
forget you.
  •    •    •    •    •    •    •    •    •
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These two are both good.

Doctor
  •    •    •    •    •    •    •    •    •
Another case of drinking and driving..
This man, 20, thought he was cool and
could somehow avoid the ultimate price.
It dosen't bother me that this idiot is
dead, and by the petrified look on his
cold face, he was terrified in his last
few seconds. This is his punishment.
However...

▓░> Sam <▓░
However?

However, he hit a ship with 2 children in
it. They crashed and the children both
died. The mother is in shock in another
hospital.

▓░> Sam <▓░
When will people learn?

I fear they never will. How i wish idiots
like this one suffer alone instead of
taking innocent people with them...
  •    •    •    •    •    •    •    •    •

I cannot believe how often the dangers of drinking and driving come up in this ZZT game about aliens attempting to take over the universe starting with Earth. Alena is incredibly passionate about this, and I hope not based on personal experience. There's actually even more than this, Sam can look at the "useless drunk"'s body and also talk to a doctor who knows the mother that survived the crash. It's very bleak and dark.

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But enough about drunk driving! It's time to meet up with the renegades in the engine room and figure out the plan. This first involves gaining access with the "IMA" password from earlier. Alena quizzes the player with a simple list of the options AMI, IMA, and MAI, with the penalty for an incorrect guess being nothing more than having to touch the object again to try another guess.

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Time is running out.

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Well, there is time to spy on some aliens and find them playing Pokemon roms.

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I was kind of hoping the aliens who had been at work on sabotaging the invasions for awhile would have an actual plan by now. There's not much game left yet Sam and Anne are still trying to figure out what's to be done.

Anne
  •    •    •    •    •    •    •    •    •
Greetings sir *wink*

▓░> Sam <▓░
Hey.
*whisper* Is it safe to talk out loud?

For a while. Everyone here works for
the alien renegade unit. Now that they
are all here we can start to think of
what we are going to do...

▓░> Sam <▓░
Have the engines been cut yet?

In the process actually. It is difficult
to kill a vital system part without the
network reporting an error.

▓░> Sam <▓░
Right.

Where is Andrew anyway?

▓░> Sam >▓░

... Um...

When we transported in they killed him.
They thought they got the only
intruder until the scuffle at the
cafeteria..

So Andrew is.... dead?

▓░> Sam <▓░
There was nothing I could do.
I am so glad you are safe...

*small smile*
Yea... you to...
*hug*

I hope andrew is happy wherever he is...

▓░> Sam <▓░
Me too..

We must get to work though or we will have
let him die in vain...

#zap touch
You should introduce yourself to everyone
and we can get the plan underway.

▓░> Sam <▓░
Right
  •    •    •    •    •    •    •    •    •

Of course, now that Sam and Anne can speak freely, Sam is finally able to tell her just what happened to Andrew. Again, Alena does an excellent job conveying their sorrow. They're in the right mindset of needing to complete their mission before they can properly grieve his death, and it's clear that it's something that will take a toll on both of them.

screen789

Most of the renegades aren't actively doing much. GRU_X3 is the one exception that is getting things done. It's been discussed that stopping the engines would be difficult to do without raising several alerts, but GRU here has managed to bypass the automatic alerts. The ship is now effectively grounded until the invaders discover the sabotage and can restart the engines. At least it buys Sam and Anne some time.

screen791

You can get the meeting to begin by talking to Anne a second time whenever you like which is a nice natural way to make it so you won't find yourself missing out on dialog by talking to Anne right away and also avoid forcing Sam to talk to the entire crew if the player just wants to move things along. (Although in practice, you wouldn't know you can just talk to Anne so the optional dialog is unlikely to be recognized as such.)

screen793

I really like Anne's sudden aggression here. There's been enough casualties and enough time wasted. If the renegades are going to make a move, they need to get on with it. Everyone quietly walks over and takes their seat. Sam can be rude and not actually sit, but you almost can't help yourself. Prepare yourself for text because this meeting is meeting.

Interaction
  •    •    •    •    •    •    •    •    •
▓░> Anne <▓░
Alright.
We have a lot to discuss.

First of all, how are those engines
comming?

▓░> GRU_X3 <▓░

Well. I have finished the little program
that will maintain all the "normal"
lights and settings which will bypass the
actuall error signals the dead engine will
send. I just installed it and it works
great. Power is limited, no shields, no
weapons and no boost or take-off ability,
but general power such as lights, speakers
and computers are all online.

▓░> Anne <▓░

Great! Now that we don't have to worry
about taking off into space, we can
get down the the real business!

They have taken many Earth animals,
including my friend Sam's puppy. Why?

▓░> FLO_333 <▓░

I found this out before, it seems it is
a mere side project of theirs, it is
simple slave labour. It seems while they
were here creating the gem and purple gel
combination, they found the need for
slave labour. Rumor has it they are all
on the bridge right now, being sorted.

▓░> Sam <▓░
Doggy!

▓░> Anne <▓░

Alright. Sam we will get him back!

So we know they are here for the engine
fuel that is made due to all our toxins.
They likely have a lot more of this crap
elsewhere. We need to find there supply
and kill it. As soon as we do this, they
will have no power and the renegades will
have a serious advantage out in space.

Luckily for us I know there is a storage
area on the other side of the bridge
where the fuel is being stored and will
be sent to the comet ASAP. We have to kill
it sooner.
  •    •    •    •    •    •    •    •    •

The key defenses are down. The ship is incapacitated. The renegades have the element of surprise. Doggy is being processed for slave labor, and Anne wants to make a strike on the fuel supply before it's transported to the comet.

screen801
screen802

The non-human renegades are ready to do this, and from the earlier discussion about having an advantage in space, it sounds like the renegades are a larger force than this group of six at a table in the engine room.

screen803

This is so intense! Sam has never wanted to resort to violence, but he hasn't been afraid to do so when the stakes were high enough. Andrew is dead, his dog has been taken from him, and several renegades have given their lives to the cause. He has been pushed to his absolute limit and believes this needs to end now. After so many ZZT games where the protagonists start with a shoot first philosophy, it's great to see Alena's handling of Sam. Whether or not this is the right attitude to have is debatable, but with Sam having watched his friend die a painful death the behavior of the character feels very believable. It takes a certain level of skill to convince the player that the same Sam whose first instinct upon seeing a UFO was to check on his doggy is now being open and upfront that if they want this invasion to stop now the renegades can't be as pacifistic as they would like. The contrast as well with Anne is excellent. She's not only unsure if an assault is the moral choice, but is genuinely surprised to hear Sam embracing violence as a tool to end the invasion.

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