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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Gem Hunter returns to the action, escaping from the hospital only to realize the city's been deserted.

I do like how this scene is handled, animating the doors opening and the quick drive by of presumably Tyrone's police car just look plain nice.

What I don't like is that Gem Hunter is re-entering the story. He's not a bad character, but all the Parasite Eve roles are taken. His presence is just one more character to account for in a game that's already loaded with them. Keep him hospitalized and there's an easy out for dropping a character.


We cut to some random building. This is a rare moment where everything is told via a scroll window rather than flashing messages, and thank goodness because it's a massive amount of text that is pretty much meaningless to this game. Instead it tries to give it some connections to Gem Hunter 2.

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TYRONE: Good morning, Kim.

KIM: Morning? Where am I?

TYRONE: You.. uh... fell asleep in the
squad car. And the traffic was like hell,
so I had to take you here.

KIM: Oh.

RENO: Uh... yeah. Hello.

KIM: Who are you?

RENO: Reno. Of the Boys in Blue. And this
is Anita.


KIM: Oh.

RENO: Tyrone told me everything. Nothing
like that happened in Austin Powers.

TYRONE: Austin Powers? What the hell? You
didn't say anything about that.

RENO: *cough* It was after the whole Evil
Weasel incident which got Kim kidnapped.
The Taco Doberman in Diner Row was
completely trashed thanks to the battle
between Stealth and Gem Hunter. A single
gordita was contaminated with the saliva
of a Pikachu and consumed by Keno. Keno
was killed and his body became that of
Steve brother, Drew. Drew immediately
tried to create the "Banana of the
Heavens", or the Ultimate Being.

KIM: Ultimate Being? How the hell can he
do THAT?

RENO: Reproducing asexually.

TYRONE: Ugh... I think I'm going to be

KIM: Ha ha. I've had that feeling since
this whole crisis began.

RENO: Er... anyway, Drew failed when Keno
regenerated and his body exploded. I think
Bobbery suffered the same fate as Keno
did, but Bobbery is not like the Izaris.
Once he's dead, he's dead for good. The
perfect host body for Steve.

ANITA BLUE: Once Steve got control of
Bobbery, he ignited everyone and escaped,
but you seemed to have stopped his plans,
for the moment. Then, of course, the event
yesterday at the park... I dunno. The
slime disappeared.

KIM: ...

TYRONE: The city has been evacuated,
thanks to the events at Mentos Park and
Migrane Hall.

RENO: Yeah. ...And I must conduct one more

KIM: Umm... okay.

TYRONE: We need... bigger guns.

FRANCINE: Ack! No! A Godzilla reference!

TYRONE: No. Seriously. We should go back
to the station and get a better gun from

ANITA BLUE: You kidding? Blackwell is a
gun hater. And there's a gun shop next

RENO: What wonders shall never cease.
There is also a pharmacy next to this
place, too.


KIM: ...Okay. We should try to find out
where Steve is.

FRANCINE: Urgh. Where is the next plane
OUT of here?

RENO: In hell.

FRANCINE: Very funny.

ANITA BLUE: If you don't mind... I'll get
the car.

TYRONE: And I will wander about.
  •    •    •    •    •    •    •    •    •

It's okay to not read all of that. I promise.

Okay. Summary: Traffic sucked and everybody was tired so they all holed up in some abandoned building. We get to meet Reno and Anita Blue and they talk about "Austin Powers", as in the setting of Gem Hunter 2, not the film franchise.

Turn out Steve had a brother named Drew and a similar incident occurred to what's going on now in Puerto del Agua. His plan was to create the "Banana of the Heavens", the ultimate being.

The assumption is that Steve is looking to succeed where his brother failed. So far Kim has been able to stop that, but the giant ball of slime composed of former Novemberists is currently missing and there's no telling what Steve will do next.

It's only after finishing this article that I'm realizing that this gordita joke is consistent. Way back at the start of the game when you find actor Bobbery Smithson's diary it opened with an entry about feeling hot and blaming it on gorditas. I'm amazed.

The next course of action is to take advantage of the evacuation and loot the nearby pharmacy and gun shop for some supplies before... going somewhere else.


Strong agree.


This is one of those rare moments of getting to control the player, though there's still very little to actually do.


The pharmacy has a MediKit and a MediKit Pro which offer some healing in battle without using November energy. The small one heals 35 health, and the "pro" version heals for 65. For comparison, the November Energy heal ability restores 20 HP.


The gun shop meanwhile has another charred corpse, and Tyrone who can't be interacted with.

Kim can't take any of the guns, but she can get fire, ice, and continuous ammo. At least by giving three kinds of special ammunition at once, the odds that I might get to use one effectively have gone up.


Anita waits outside by the squad car, and once Kim's ready it's time to drive off.


And we return to cutscenes.Strangely, despite this board appearing to be identical to the last car scene, the shading on the sides is actually slightly different. It's an odd thing to redo.

Also the car doors no longer have visible handles. Continuity...

TYRONE: So... where to?

RENO: I seriously need to conduct some

KIM: Tests? What kind?

ANITA BLUE: We found a trace of slime on
our way to Sowhocares?. We think it has to
do with Steve.

KIM: Steve?

ANITA: Yeah.

FRANCINE: Excuse me... how did I get
caught up in all of this?

TYRONE: Quiet, Francie. You're here only
because you HAD to go to your precious
Novemberist thing.


KIM: Umm... how about that museum?

TYRONE: ANYWHERE but there, dammit. Both
of those guys are true bastards.

ANITA BLUE: Museum? What about it?

KIM: They had some extensive equipment,

RENO: Er... then shall we go?

TYRONE: God dammit... okay.

Back to the museum to run some tests! Poor Francine is stuck in the party despite having no need to be here.

RENO: Wow... surprisingly extinsive...
for a museum... COULD IT MEAN SOMETHING?

KIM: Hee hee. You've played this game
before, haven't you?

RENO: Indeed. I already know what happens,
and who is responsible, but to keep the
suspense, I was payed a half million to

KIM: Oh.

TYRONE: Test away, dammit. I don't want to
hang around here, too long.

RENO: Right.

TYRONE: So, what the hell are you doing?

RENO: Let me try something.

RENO: Ow! Muthafucka!!

TYRONE: A blood test?

RENO: Yes... Now, let's see...

RENO: Aha. Steve's Xamboxumbadria has
taken over the nucleus...

ANITA BLUE: W.. what? That's... not really

RENO: Well, Xamboxumbadria is a lifeform
within itself. It's flaw is that it is
usually lazier than Tseng is.

FRANCINE: Ha! That's not possible, either.

RENO: It is. But... Steve's Xamboxumbadria
is strangely active. And they have full
control over other Xamboxumbadria. It is
why everyone was ignited back at Migrane
Hall, and why these strange mutations have

KIM: Er... could you check my blood for a

RENO: Why?

KIM: For some reason, I can't be ignited.

RENO: Oh. THAT can be explained simply.
You don't have Xamboxumbadria. Because
you're from Earth. Earth people... don't
have Xamboxumbadria.

KIM: They don't?

RENO: Think of it this way. Hoodians, like
Gem Hunter, myself, and about everyone
here EXCEPT you are evolved humans.

ANITA BLUE: Wait... wait... what about
Nimrod and Side Pocket? They're from
Earth, too!

RENO: Yes, but remember... they are
Absentminded's bodyguards. And he is away
trying to overthrow Masamune.

Science gets done, and the crew gets to watch xamboxumbadria take over a cell.

Finally, the cast realizes what was obvious from the start, that Kim's immunity to Steve's attacks is because she's a different species from all of them. The idea of getting some other humans to help out is quickly shot down as they're out of town, and frankly there are enough characters already.


While this big long discussion is going on, nobody hears Hercules and Atom who appear on the board and return to their lab.

HERCULES: What the hell?

ATOM: Hey! Why the hell are YOU PEOPLE in
our office! This is breaking and entering!

TYRONE: Urgh. You two? Why are you still
here? You were supposed to have been
evacuated from the city!

ATOM: I'm asking YOU why you're in OUR

RENO: You wanna know why? Because IT IS


ATOM: Er... they were using the scope,


ATOM: What's wrong?

HERCULES: ...Active Xamboxumbadria.

ATOM: ...! Alright. Everyone out. Now.

This is actually a pretty fun confrontation since neither group should actually be here. Tyrone is at least a bit more willing to not just leave when asked this time, although his argument seems to be "I will kill you", and he's only thwarted by Reno's knowledge of spoilers.

Francine's name being written somewhere raises a ruckus as well, but the player is given no context as to what she's looking at. In Parasite Eve, officer Daniel notices the name of his son Ben (this game's Francine) and raises a bit more of a fuss than Francine who is mostly just confused.

Once again though everybody just leaves peacefully.


And upon returning to the police station, Steve has attacked it and killed the majority of people inside.

I enjoy the dig at Testa, whose games are frequently loaded with dead bodies in pools of blood like this. I also enjoy the knocked over plants! There's not a whole lot that can be done to damage the station itself, but Tseng does his best to create a mess.

This board doesn't actually offer up much to learn. Poiuy is the sole survivor and all he can say is that the captain is missing and something's going on downstairs.


The briefing room has been properly trashed. The chairs being flung around the room and using angled characters to make them appear broken apart is a good touch.


If you have a sharp eye, you might notice this item box which contains more fire ammo. Except the game just handed Kim fire ammo in the gun shop and there's been no opportunity to use it rendering it pointless unless the player opted to skip exploring the Sowhocares area.


The lower level isn't looking any better, but at least it isn't actively under siege like Poiuy might have made you think.


Moving into the kennel area, Kim blurts out her best South Park line before Tseng regrets naming a character Voice once more.

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KIM: Gemmy?

GEM HUNTER: I told you to stop calling me

KIM: Hee hee. How'd you get out the

GEM HUNTER: I killed three doctors, and
proceeded to the doors marked, "Exit".
Then I stole an ambulance and came here.

KIM: Do you have any idea what that slime

GEM HUNTER: I'm no rocket scientist, but
I'd say that that came from the dog that
was here.

KIM: I should probably talk to Voice about
it, then.

GEM HUNTER: I'll follow the slime trail.
Good thing I always have a spare gun...
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Back to Gem Hunter as power fantasy, we learn he killed a bunch of doctors for daring to treat his serious injuries. We also learn that there's a mutant dog now. That is going to be the next thing for Kim to deal with.


Checking in on Voice (yes, THAT Voice) and Blackwell there's an admittedly pretty humorous death scene here.

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KIM: About the doberman... where is it

VOICE: It went upstairs. I haven't seen
it, since.

KIM: Hrm...

VOICE: Go check the kennel, Kim. I think
it killed Keno and Kudo. And... uh... take
this with you.

KIM: What is it?

VOICE: A Sonic Blaster. Since Blackwell
has passed on, he probably wouldn't give
a flying fuck.

KIM: I see.
  •    •    •    •    •    •    •    •    •

Voice, though technically fired, can't be stopped from giving Kim a new gun. It's no "Quad C Launcher", but it's a start.


Returning to the conference hall, Nacut has been hurt as well, opening up the way forward to give chase to the doberman.


The previously unseen upper floor is starts off poorly, with yet another instance of an item that can't be collected since Kim already has it. So much for the ice ammo.

I wonder if there was a scrapped battle intended between the fight with Lemmer/Scissorman and here since the duplicate items is a trivial thing to catch in testing.

Also I just realized the room with the item in it is supposed to be an interrogation room with a one-way mirror that's kind of defeated by having the entrance to the room on the other side of it being in the same room.



Yes, after all this time Tseng decides maybe to have some combat that isn't done as an RPG boss battle. This caught me incredibly off guard. I just wish there had been moments like this throughout the game to break up the monotony of it all.

Of course, since you're fighting these monsters in a crowded room and they fire bullets, they'll mostly end up shooting each other.


Once defeated Kim can check out the blue door, only to discover it has no knob and can't be opened. It's another instance of a special New Game Plus only item.


I think the representation of a police station in ZZT starts breaking down around here. On the second floor there's an interrogation room which makes sense, but here the rooms are just there to stuff some corpses in.


The captain is fine at least. He's just hanging out in what I only know to be an evidence room because of its parallel in Parasite Eve.


Rounding the last corner, Kim comments on the destruction, but there's nothing of the sort. It looks like there are just some papers scattered around on the ground. The first floor looks way more wrecked than this one.


In Parasite Eve this is a tense scene where the mutated dog is about to attack Daniel's son Ben who is corned in this room with the police chief.

Here Tseng just takes the player directly to the fight with what at first glance I thought was a giant spider or something instead.




With the unexpected encounter earlier, I was nearly dead and quite thankful to have an inventory full of items.


The player needs to manually switch weapons, which should absolutely be done before bothering to perform a regular attack. The selected weapon doesn't alter the damage dealt by special ammo (not that we've seen special ammo do any damage yet). It does deal double the damage of the starting gun at least, helping to speed things up a little bit.


It's just a dog. Fire's got to work.


I hate this so much.

The fight with the doberman swings wildly with its difficulty by giving it one attack which cannot be dodged at all where two columns of bullets come out the sides of the walls, and then a trivially easy to avoid bite attack which is avoided by not just staying lined up with its fangs.

(Technically, you can dodge it by exploiting the all too common bug these engines have where by moving before the Kim object gets a chance to process that it's been shot, the object will just jump to and execute its movement code instead. So it's actually not difficult if you don't want it to be.)


You cannot pet the dog in November Eve.

QWERTY: Shit... with that bitch dog out
there, we can't get the fuck outta here.

VOICE(not THAT Voice): You can come out of
the closet, now.

GEM HUNTER: Ergh. Hell no.

VOICE: ...I didn't mean it THAT way. The
mutant doberman is dead.

QWERTY: Holy shit.

KIM: ...This is a surprisingly large

GEM HUNTER: It's not a closet. It's a
holding cell for criminals.

KIM: I see...

GEM HUNTER: Now... what the hell is going
on? I'm out of action for two god damn
days, and I find that the city is
deserted, all hell breaks loose, mutant
dobermans across the city, and Kim is
actually doing something other than
telling me where to go.

KIM: Hey!

RENO: Hey, Qwerty, you okay?


RENO: Jesus, man, calm down.

QWERTY: How in the hell can I do that?

ANITA BLUE: The knowledge in knowing that
Poiuy was wounded?

QWERTY: YES! That son of a bitch finally
got what he fucking deserved!

RENO: God, are YOU going to hear from
Falsey in the morning...

ANITA BLUE: Anyway... Nacut and Poiuy are
out of action... for a while...

RENO: I guess I'd better call Headquarters
and get some backup... this Xamboxumbadria
crisis is heating up, and we're gonna need
as much coolant as possible...

ANITA BLUE: Did you think that up,

RENO: Yeah.

ANITA BLUE: I didn't think you had it in

RENO: Shut up.

TYRONE: Other than the twenty-something
dead cops, and the corpse of a huge
doberman, this day seemed pretty normal.

ANITA BLUE: The question is... why did
Steve attack the PDAPD?

TYRONE: To get rid of Kim and the Boys in

GEM HUNTER: It could be a diversion.

ANITA BLUE: A diversion?

GEM HUNTER: Yes. Steve's probably trying
to make us worry about our problems here,
so he can accomplish his own damned plans.

ANITA BLUE: But what does Steve want?

GEM HUNTER: It's not what he wants. It's
who he's taking orders from.

TYRONE: Orders? What in the hell are you
talking about, Jer?

GEM HUNTER: Think about it! All acts of
evil on Da Hood are usually caused by Aric
and the Evil Weasel.

ANOTHER VOICE: Oh, please.


This is of course followed by a cutscene of Kim rescuing the trapped Gem Hunter and Qwerty. Has Qwerty been in this game the whole time? I know Poiuy's been around. It's difficult to keep track of all the background characters.

We get our "coming out of the closet" joke, and a whole lot of drivel before finally discussing something important: the motive.

Gem Hunter catches on pretty fast, proposing Steve is trying to keep them all distracted so he can do his thing undisturbed, but then incorrectly assumes that he's working for one of the main antagonists from the Gem Hunter series.


But then Gem Hunter series villain Espionage shows up, adding still more characters to this game that's got more than I can count.

GEM HUNTER: Espionage!?

ESPIONAGE: Long time, no see.

GEM HUNTER: What in the hell are YOU doing

ESPIONAGE: Aric ordered me, Cubed Ice, and
Dr. Erd to see what was going on, here. He
saw Kim in the news about the whole
Xamboxumbadria incident. We just didn't
realize what the hell was going on here.

GEM HUNTER: What? You mean you had nothing
to do with this!?

ESPIONAGE: Not even Aric has the power to
control one that can ignite people without
being anywhere near him. And, personally,
I don't want to be here that much, any
more. Especially after seeing that huge
doberman in the back room.

KIM: Where are Cubed Ice and Dr. Erd?

ESPIONAGE: Outside. We actually caught
sight of Steve. He was near St. Gabriel

GEM HUNTER: St. Gabriel Hospital? I was
there... earlier today... I'm sure Steve
will greet that dead doctor's corpse...

TYRONE: You never change, Jer.

ANITA BLUE: How do we know that we can
trust you, Espionage?

ESPIONAGE: You don't. But... let's just
agree... no fighting until all of this is
resolved. I doubt we want to get in each
other's way, you understand...

GEM HUNTER: ...I can live with that.

TYRONE: As can I.

KIM: ...Okay.

ESPIONAGE: Dr. Erd and Cubed Ice have
something to take care of in the Hospital,
so they'll probably come along. I hope you
don't mind.

KIM: Shall we go?

GEM HUNTER: Holy shit. I just realized.
It's morning. We've all been up all night.

TYRONE: Jesus... time flies when you're
fighting off monsters...

Lord it keeps going. In addition to Espionage, we also get Cubed Ice and Dr. Erd to join everybody as well. I think some folks are still out of town and have yet to arrive as well. It's killing me how many people are in this game.

There's at least a lead in having seen Steve at the local hospital that Gem Hunter casually admits to having killed somebody in earlier that day. The police, of course, laugh it off.


Have I mentioned this game is actually three files long? (Don't worry, file three is extremely short.)

The end of day three marks the end of the game's first file, and this seems like a nice spot to wrap up the first part of writing about the game as well.

Things end with another character who thankfully isn't actually added to the game's cast, the earlier mentioned Master Walnut himself. If you can bring yourself to read this whole thing, you'll pick up on Tseng's interest in pro wrestling pretty quickly.

Remember! The password is warcraft.

Final Thoughts

Oh boy what a first file. This is a bit of a tough one to get through because it is just pure cutscene. It's kind of amazing how refreshing that one board in the police station where you get to fight some enemies outside of an RPG battle was. I really wish Tseng had done some more moments like this throughout the game to act as "random" encounters.

As it is, you're either staring at flashing text for minutes at a time, or fighting a slow and easy RPG boss fight.

I don't know if it comes through here though, but the truth is I had fun! I don't know if it's the light-hearted reactions to a horrific scenario, or nostalgia, or what, but when I finished the first file, I was ready to jump into the second immediately. There's a lot to complain about with November Eve's extremely repetitive formula, but I can't help but enjoy it still. Some more gameplay, and switching over some of the more static cinematics to just scrolls that can be read at the player's own pace would go a long way to making this game more palatable to a general audience, but I have to admire what Tseng has done so far.

As a child who had Parasite Eve, and wasn't capable of completing the game this let me appreciate the source material's own story in a way that I could finish it, and there's certainly value in the accessibility a ZZT game with cheats and an editor affords. Sometimes though, you have to remind yourself that this is honestly a surprisingly true to the original conversion of a then modern game made by a hugely successful studio to ASCII. Lots of ZZT games are remakes of existing video games, but I think there's something special about November Eve for managing to capture the essence of a complex 3D RPG in this form. It makes compromises like any other "port", but you very much are playing the same game, just with a lot more cheeky humor. In an era where console games were idolized as something ZZT games could only wish they were as good as, Tseng honestly pulls it off far better than I think anybody could have anticipated.

Just, maybe turn up the game speed if you're playing it yourself.

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