Closer Look: November Eve (File A)

Xamboxumbadira is the powerhouse of the cell.

Authored By: Dr. Dos
Published: Nov 30, 2019
Part of Series: November Eve Closer Look
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Day 2: Walnut, is in reference to surprise surprise, another Gem Hunter series regular, "Master Walnut". I don't think he ever does much other than swears a lot. Tseng did make him iconic enough that "∞" is definitely recognizable to ZZTers of the era as a walnut in much the same way Jeremy LaMar definitively made "æ" into a "Goober" with Ned The Knight.


Day 2 opens at the police department, which is such a great board design. Firstly, it captures everything Parasite Eve's own station has, but Tseng is fitting it a lot onto a single board in a way that looks really natural.

It's a large building and split across multiple rooms, and I'm a big fan of the sort of extended shading here where the wall colors just sort of continue off beyond the borders of each room. It's just really nice to look at.

TYRONE: Shouldn't you be resting, Kimmy?

KIM: I'm the only real witness as to what
happened, since the stupid reporters don't
really care about Gemmy.


NACUT: How the hell all of those people
get burned?

KIM: My guess is... that actor which I
chased into the sewers... perhaps he used
some kind of psychic power?

QWERTY: Bullshit. How the fuck could any
one person set people on fire without
fucking touching them!?

KIM: It just... happened.

POIUY: Hrm... how about this guy becoming
a creature and running off?

KIM: Well... he could've been a monster in
disguise. But I wouldn't know that,
because I'm from Earth.

NACUT: Could be another Geriatric...

KIM: He was red, not purple.


POIUY: Psychic power, eh? Well, I don't
buy it.

TYRONE: I believe her. But we should see
Jer, first. Nacut, Poiuy, go to the
hospital Jer's at and speak with him. Kim,
go see Blackwell in Weapons. That gun
needs modification.

QWERTY: Blackwell? He's a fucking poser.
Thinks guns here on Da Hood are too god
damned unsafe.

POIUY: Bah. With the amount of firepower
you always carry, it's no wonder you hate

NACUT: She needs a modification permit.

TYRONE: Shoot. I forgot about that one.
Kimmy, go talk with the Captain.

The forced inclusion of Gem Hunter at the opera continues to cause problems as the lack of media attention on the other survivor needs to be handwaved away.

The Gem Hunter series isn't very grounded in reality, so I'm not sure if Qwerty dismissing the idea of this being a psychic attack is because such a thing is supposed to be impossible, or because he genuinely believes that the specifics of the attack are beyond the abilities of a psychic.

Looking up what "Geriatrics" are in the context of Tseng games, and honestly there's almost nothing. I thought there were villains in one of his games, but flipping through them I can only find a few passing mentions to the species, and one instance of one appearing after crashing landing on Da Hood and immediately being shot at. They're definitely supposed to be bad guys, but in this case they're not the bad guys.

And finally, it's time to improve Kim's weaponry..


You already saw this in the transcript, but it's such a line that dates this game that I have to make sure it lives on in screenshot form before continuing.

KIM: Sir.

CAPTAIN: Oh, yes. You're the one Tyrone
found at Migrane Hall.

KIM: Yeah.

CAPTAIN: A whole lot of the people at the
hall were killed... you and your friend
were the only survivors.

KIM: ...

CAPTAIN: As far as what Tyrone told me,
you're by far the only one that didn't get
hurt in the attack. But, if you're going
to stand any more chance, you need to get
your gun modified. Here's a permit. Go.

Getting an upgrade permit is easy enough. It's worth noting that PE's Aya is an NYPD cop. Kim has no official status in law enforcement but gets the perk of a shiny new gun, no questions asked. The player has an understanding that she's notable for being immune to Steve's biological warfare, but at this point nobody else is really aware of that including Kim herself.


You can even see this by talking with everyone in the office. I guess they're confident if she was fine once she'll be fine again.


Francine is Tyrone's sister who takes on the role of Ben from Parasite Eve. Unlike Ben, she's not a child which makes it a little odd that's she's always stuck with Tyrone and not off doing her own thing as an adult.


Although Kim can check out the rest of the eastern area of the station, there's nothing to interact with there yet, so it's time to head downstairs to where the guns and dogs are stored.


I had to stop for a moment before realizing that Tseng has both a character named Reno and a character named Keno.


At the weapons counter, Blackwell isn't there but a man who is seriously named "Voice Stupidass" instead. He's more than happy to provide Kim with all sorts of exotic weapons.

His name being "Voice" causes several moments later on where Tseng has to clarify if a currently unknown voice is talking or Mr. Stupidass.


This moment is one of the more awkward issues that comes up between Parasite Eve versus November Eve. This scene mimics one in the source material, but in over in Parasite Eve the limited inventory space is handled via a storage system in the NYPD basement. Here, no such system exists so Voice just stands in a corner and doesn't get to do anything.

  •    •    •    •    •    •    •    •    •
BLACKWELL: Heard about it from Tyrone. I'd
hate to hand a gun to a girl like you, but
I heard that this isn't your ordinary
crook. I need your modification permit.
YOu have it, right?

KIM: Yeah.

BLACKWELL: Okay. This'll be a second...
  •    •    •    •    •    •    •    •    •
Parasite Eve also has a pretty noticeable undercurrent running throughout the game about the glamorization of guns and how we use them to solve problems. Tseng's universe is pretty clear on guns being cool, and it's a safe assumption that if a character is named, they've probably got a gun.

Now that Kim's gun has been upgraded, Tyrone will appear outside the conference hall where he and Kim are about to meet the press.

This is the rare cutscene that takes place over a static art board and not a bunch of smiley faces running around, but a single effect makes it need to be presented as video rather than a text dump.

Kim is really bad at participating in the cover-up to prevent panic. Fortunately, the press doesn't care about any of this.

Without a doubt, the coolest part of this scene however, is the brief moment that a camera flashes. It's such a good effect.


Things return to normalcy with multiple cutscenes in a row.

KIM: ...That was beyond pointless.

CAPTAIN: Yup. But, in any case, let's hope
the press stays off our backs on this
idiotic matter.

NACUT: If it means anything... I read an
interesting article in the Puerto del Agua
Utopia, today. A scientist named Hercules
wrote a new theory on Xamboxumbadria.

QWERTY: Theory? Why the fuck would anyone
waste his time working on some bullshit
like that?

NACUT: Would I know?

POIUY: That reminds me... where in the
hell is Reno and Anita?

NACUT: They're investigating everything
about the actors at the opera. They should
come by, later tonight.

KIM: What about the Xamboxumbadria guy?

CAPTAIN: We should probably speak with

TYRONE: I'll take Kim over there, then.

#play t++e2xe2xe2xe2


CAPTAIN: You're shitting me.

CAPTAIN: Okay. We'll be there.

Things are at least starting to come together. Nacut has a lead in hearing some news about a new Xamboxumbadria theory from somebody in town. Meanwhile Anita and Reno are following up investigating the actors in the play. Things are about to start moving along until the phone rings and plans immediately change.

NACUT: What the hell was that?

CAPTAIN: There was going to be a
celebration for today, as it's November
Eve. Guess who was going to be the head of
that celebration?


CAPTAIN: Bobbery Smithson. One of the
actors at the Migrane Hall opera.

TYRONE: Jesus!

KIM: Huh?

TYRONE: Francine wanted to go to that

POIUY: ...I thought I saw her leave, too.

TYRONE: God dammit... we gotta go find her
before this Steve emerges, again!

KIM: I'll go, too.

TYRONE: Fine, fine, let's just go!

Steve has another performance scheduled, and now Francine and all the other Novemberists at the festival are in danger.


But before Kim can arrive, we have to have a cutscene of her getting there.

This one uses invisible walls to create the illusion that Tyrone's police car is driving down the street, plus on occasion a car will drive past in the other lane.

I don't know if it would really be possible to tell a story like this without these scenes, even when they add up to such a considerable amount of time.

Still, I do appreciate when Tseng puts in visual components so that it's not just characters standing still and talking until they're done. Even the simplest illusion of movement does a lot to make this scene that much more interesting to look at.

TYRONE: What the hell does Steve want from

KIM: Looks like he wants to gather a bunch
of people in one place...

TYRONE: For what purpose!?

KIM: Er...

TYRONE: This Steve bastard's gonna get an
ass-kicking when i get to him...

The two arrive at Central Mentos Park, and Tyrone immediately realizes that he's not going to do anything but die if he goes inside.


This next area of the original game would be a big place to explore with random encounters and items to find. Here it's just a path past Tseng's ugly trees (I will forever hold a grudge against their design) straight to the amphitheater.


Before really really going in, there's some Ice Ammo to collect.

It's kind of strange that this "dungeon" is so short. Tseng isn't afraid to have the player navigate some big empty spaces that would have items and fights in Parasite Eve, but this one plays nice and just gets right to the point.

Oops. Kim's too late and the entire audience is transformed into slime, but not very well. None of the objects that make up the audience vanish, and an overzealous #change command that turns the linewall based seating into slime also hits the border that traps the player in their corner to watch the scene unfold.

There are several purple char 2's in the audience, and any one of them could have been Francine.

LEMMER: Dammit, the contract said that
we'd get a huge-assed club!

SCISSORMAN: Nah. Tseng is too lazy to make
that sort of thing. Instead, we can just
pound our hands to the ground and it'll
create a wave of energy.

LEMMER: What wonders shall never cease.

SCISSORMAN: I can't believe you bet on the
Falcons in the Super Bowl.

LEMMER: Oh, be quiet.

SCISSORMAN: And let's not forget how much
I kick your ass in Magic:The Gathering.

LEMMER: Dammit, there's no one around.

SCISSORMAN: No one around? Then why is Kim

LEMMER: ...Kim!? Dude, the boss said that
we're supposed to kill her in the most
brutal way possible!

SCISSORMAN: Make her watch a Hanson

LEMMER: ...Second most.

SCISSORMAN: Make her listen to Vogon

LEMMER: ...Another wacky Hitchhiker
reference. ...Third most.

SCISSORMAN: Kill her and then stomp on her
corpse until she's but a bloody pulp?

LEMMER: Bingo.

KIM: Uh-oh...

Firstly: the original dialog for this scene includes some transphobic remarks, so I just cut those from the transcript here.

Second: Arguing with the game's author is a time honored ZZT tradition, and "Tseng is lazy" is a recurring sentiment throughout November Eve. This may honestly be a rare game in which the author doesn't argue back.

Third: This part is entirely made up. There are no giant robots piloted by comedic relief characters in Parasite Eve. Here we get more members of Interactive Fantasies, Lemmer and Scissorman (far more well known as Skullie, with "Scissorman" being a nickname given to him because he sure liked Clock Tower a lot).

Having Interactive Fantasies members kill a fellow Interactive Fantasies member is dark.

The "OHH DEAR" reaction is probably the ZZT communities longest running catchphrase. The popularity of what became known as "FishIg", writing in all caps and purposely making spelling errors to emulate what bad ZZTers were supposed to sound like lasted for years. "YAY SIRS" is used for something positive, while "OHH DEAR" is for the negative. Even after Fishfood and Lord Igsel's writing in Hallucina faded from memory, "OHH DEAR" lived on.

Gameplay! Beautiful gameplay.

The two first attacking by throwing the corpse of Ethan Hunt is honestly pretty great. Having an attack that only happens once is a nice change of pace compared to just rolling some metaphorical dice to pick a random attack every turn.

This is unfortunately where the battle system begins really showing its flaws which you can either watch in the video for yourself or just see the relevant screen-grabs below.


Yet again the special ammo you can pick up just before the fight doesn't do anything and is wasted. This is a constantly recurring issue.


This one comes up in a lot of ZZT RPG engines where you fight multiple targets. It's not the worst thing in the world, but having to pick a target when you're down to one target is kind of annoying.


And lastly, there's the issue of most of the attacks being the sort of thing you'll never be hit by. Melee attacks and attacks that have sweeping blind spots for damage make things pretty tedious.


Eventually, they're both defeated and the fight just ends with no comments from Kim or her defeated foes.

TYRONE: Yo, Kim! You okay?

KIM: Y... yeah.

TYRONE: You're trembling. Are you sure
that you're okay?

KIM: Aside from the fact that the people
in the ampitheather turned into a slime
and wandered off and the fact that I had
to fight a pair of idiots, I'm fine.

TYRONE: Whoa whoa... slime?

KIM: Yes.

TYRONE: And Francine...?

KIM: I didn't see her in the audience.

VOICE(not THAT Voice): I'm right here,

TYRONE: You're alive?

FRANCINE: Of course. I just got here. I
simply stopped by at a Blue Room on the

KIM: W... wait! Then I had to fight that
stupid two-headed monster for no reason!?


KIM: Urgh... I think I'm going to be ill.

TYRONE: Don't pass out, yet, Kimmy. We're
gonna see Hercules, now.

FRANCINE: And I'm just going to stand here
like an idiot?

TYRONE: You're welcome to join us.

FRANCINE: No. I'm here to celebrate
November Eve.

TYRONE: Er... there's a problem.

FRANCINE: And that is?

KIM: Oh, nothing. Just the fact that all
of the Novemberists that came are slightly

FRANCINE: You're kidding.

KIM: No.

FRANCINE: Damn. That ruins all my plans,

TYRONE: You coming, or not?

FRANCINE: Oh, fine. See if I care.

This entire chapter was a bust! Kim didn't save anybody, and Francine was just fine thanks to a visit to a blue room. At least a trip to the museum to meet Hercules (the president of Interactive Fantasies) might lead to something.


On to the museum cutscene. To fulfill Tseng's requirement of making sure there's something on the board that moves, Tseng animates Kim and crew walking up the stairs before reaching the office they're looking for.

TYRONE: Urgh. I don't like the smell of
this place.

KIM: Sounds like someone's inside.

FRANCINE: Good work, captain obvious.

FRANCINE: I'll just wait here, thank you
very much.

TYRONE: Yo, Dr. Hercules!

TYRONE: ...Dammit, acknowledge my
existance, damn you.

HERCULES: I heard you.

TYRONE: We're here to ask a few questions.

HERCULES: Good for you.

TYRONE: you.


KIM: Er... yeah. We're here about this guy
who sets people on fire without getting
anywhere near the people in question...

HERCULES: ...So why are you talking to me?

TYRONE: That Xamboxumbadria theory thing
you wrote.

KIM: The suspect in question mentioned

HERCULES: Ha ha ha. You two have NO idea
what the true Xamboxumbadria is like...


(dramatic pause)

TYRONE: Er... no.

HERCULES: Oh. Er... well, I'll explain,

Of all the IF cameos, poor Hercules gets it the worst, being assigned the role of obviously evil scientist who knows more than he's letting on about what's happening.

The Xamboxumbadria exists within all
Hoodians. It exists as a life form, a more
powerful version of Mitochondria.

TYRONE: Whoa... whoa whoa. Life form? Like
a parasite?

HERCULES: ...Er, yeah. You could say that.
Hoodians cannot live without the Xamboxum-
-badria. They supply energy to the nuclei
in our cells. And they make a noise like
Steve Urkel. Well, you can't hear it, but
THEY can.

TYRONE: ...How the hell could you know

HERCULES: Try getting drunk before a
November Eve parade.

TYRONE: ...Oh.

HERCULES: Aaaaannyway... they generate a
large amount of energy. They can generate
approximently 42Rv in a second, if they
felt like it.

TYRONE: 42Rv!? That's... a lot.

HERCULES: Imagine what might happen if all
of the Xamboxumbadria in a human body were
to move at once?

TYRONE: My god.


KIM: Er... but what about these mutants? I
saw a mutant alligator, a two-headed freak
and a guy with weird dreadlocks and really
long arms...

HERCULES: If Xamboxumbadria were to take
over the nuclei of a cell... evolution, or
even mutation could happen.

Hercules goes on, giving us our crash course in high school level Hoodian biology and actually being pretty helpful as far as explaining things. There's no idea how Steve can do it, or why Steve is doing what he's doing, but it's clear that Xamboxumbadria is definitely what's causing people to burn up or turn into slime or whatever it is they do.

RED GUY: Let me tell you something...

TYRONE: Who the hell are you?

RED GUY: I'm Atom. Herc's assistant.

TYRONE: Okay. Tell away.

ATOM: Well, ten or so years ago, a
scientist tried to find the root of all
humans. On November-8 12th, 1990, it was
announced that it could be traced to a
single male human. They called him...
Xamboxumbadria Steve.

KIM: Steve!? The suspect in question
called himself Steve!

ATOM: W, what?

HERCULES: He called himself... Steve...

TYRONE: Hey, if you've got something to
say, don't hold back, now!

HERCULES: We've told you all you need to
know. I believe that you know the way out.

TYRONE: What the hell!?

KIM: ...Let's go, Ty.

TYRONE: God dammit...

I am amused at how "red guy" isn't called that for more than two lines of text since he just immediately reveals himself to be yet another IF member.

Despite Tyrone being a cop who can basically do whatever he wants, him and the rest all quietly leave when asked despite it being clear to Herc and Atom that something very big is happening.

I also never noticed it until now, but this should really be about finding the root of all "Hoodians" rather than humans.


On the one hand, this board is actually really smartly designed, combining shots of Tyrone's police car, the chief's office at the police department, and Gem Hunter in his room at the hospital. Fitting all this in one scene makes this a really distinct looking cinema, almost with a comic feel as the focus moves from one panel to the next.

On the other hand, this board is clearly just Tseng realizing the alternative is three more boards of cutscenes.

TYRONE: I can't stand those two bastards.

KIM: ...I've seen that one guy before,

TYRONE: Gasp. A plot twist. I would never
think that Tseng could pull one of those

KIM: Ha ha.

TYRONE: ...We should probably go see Jer,

KIM: Good idea... I'm sure he doesn't miss
me. Hee hee.

TYRONE: Actually, the doctors are probably
driving Jer nuts. He hates doctors.

KIM: Oh.

Kim is apparently familiar with one of the museum employees, though which one isn't named. I also have no clue what she's talking about, and I'm guessing it's a reference to another game in Tseng's repertoire.

GEM HUNTER: Ain't no way that you're gonna
that piece of shit in my arm.


GEM HUNTER: Now, bubbie, I want to know
where Kim and Ty are.

DOCTOR: Ugh...

GEM HUNTER: Oops. I think I might've hit
you a bit too hard. Oh well, I'll just
take my leave.

I love how much of an asshole Gem Hunter is in this game. He doesn't get to do much of anything, but he sure as hell can punch a doctor unconscious and act as if a regular old hospital employee would have any idea who Kim and Tyrone are and where to find them.

Presumably, all the staff did was treat this badly injured man's burns.

I also like that it's a shared room with two other patients who watch in silence. Probably a smart move.

CAPTAIN: Losses at the Ampitheather were
much worse than at the opera... and I have
orders from Da Head Hood to evacuate
Puerto del Agua. We shall remain here in
neutralizing Steve.

NACUT: Shouldn't we leave that to the

CAPTAIN: WE'RE the ones that are supposed
to be protecting this city.

POIUY: SOME PROTECTION. We've had almost
500 deaths since this Steve asshole shown

CAPTAIN: Oh, shut up.

QWERTY: Dammit, I guess you're gonna force
us to fucking evacuate this shit city,
aren't you?



NACUT: Er... er... right. Let's go.

Meanwhile, at the station, it's time to evacuate the city. The good thing about "Puerto del Agua" being completely made up, is that Tseng can say there's going to be an evacuation and there's no reason to not believe it. Parasite Eve really wishes it has this luxury, and instead the island of Manhattan (population 2.2 million in the year 2000) is almost completely emptied in a few hours on Christmas Eve.


But hey, day three should be promising. At least everyone knows what they're dealing with now.

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