Thursday 2 July 2009

Permanent Death, Episode 3 - An Illustrated Guide To Explosions.

"Just keep staring mate and see what happens." - Soldier in Pala.
I went a little stir crazy after Episode 2 and decided to speed things up. So I did a bunch of missions and consequently blew a lot of stuff up. Here’s the first such explosion – a convoy of arms that was conveniently circling a bus station down south. I ran out of grenades and so I discovered that enough bullets will eventually stop a convoy in it’s tracks. Who woulda though it? When the engine died and started spewing thick black smoke I knew it was time to back off and it wasn't long before it blew sky high.

My second mission, to ambush another weapons convoy, went much smoother thanks in no small part to the liberal application of explosives. Here’s where I was camped in the bushes, with my jeep parked in the middle of the road, rigged and ready to blow.

But when my jeep exploded, rather than take the convoy with it, it just destroyed my means of transportation and left the target in tact! No way!

Some grenades soon relieved the driver and his payload of their atomic cohesion, prividing a much more acceptable level of destruction.

After that happy incident, I quickly made my way over to a cell phone tower and answered a call where the person on the other end was apparently the killer from the movie Scream. He wanted me to off some merc who just so happened to be standing in the middle of Pala’s cease fire zone. I chopped him a new face-hole and scampered for the border, soaking up my fair share of lead in the process. It was worth it though – 15 easy diamonds were all mine.

Later, after the heat had cooled I went in to see the APR boss. Apparently, thanks to me “APR is the shit now”. Alright mate, whatever you say.

His mission for me was to go and blow up a train carrying liquid petroleum or natural gas. I never found out which. Suffice to say, it went off with another acceptably large bang.

I went off on another mission, this time playing the field - the UFLL wanted me to blow up some compressor in a junkyard owned by the APR. On the way, I was harassed by this jeep – a perfect opportunity to try out my new RPG.

When I got to the junk yard I initially tried a stealth approach, using my silenced Makarov to take down lone guards. Once I left the cover of the long grass however, I was quickly spotted and chased by multiple soldiers from multiple directions. Having only my pistol, my trusty rifle and the aforementioned RPG, I alternated between emptying clips of my pistol into enemies and running to a safe distance to utilise my rifle’s scope. Beating a path to the middle of the junkyard, I finally put my RPG to a last final good use.

Back in Pala, a guard told me that the bosses were busy but that someone was being held captive at the old place used for cockfighting. I went there and rescued Flora Guillen.

Theoretically I could now take Michelle out of the picture, if I desired, but I hardly ever saw her anymore anyway since I was breezing through and ignoring her phone calls. I took another convoy ambush mission and this was the result.

Having unlocked a number of cool new weapons, I was still strapped for diamonds to actually buy them with, so I took another assassinate mission and, surprise, surprise; this guy was also hiding out in the middle of Pala. This time I would remember to pack my silenced Makarov.

Entering Pala it seemed quiet, there was one solitary guard on the whole street as I approached. It smelt like an ambush. It was also the dead of the night, so I brushed it off as merely being a naturally quiet night. I approached my target from behind, took aim… and square missed the mans head. He ran off, screaming into the night and a horde of soldiers poured into the streets. Cocky, I chased him down and unloaded a clip into his retreating form, only to expose myself to half-a-dozen soldiers. I rapidly retreated, finding my escape rapidly being cut off by yet more soldiers. It was going bad and fast. I was getting overwhelmed and I started getting distracted by the though that 'This was it'. I could be about to die. My faculties failed me and I collapsed, blood pooling the dirt.

Warren Clyde, was my saviour. He charged in, desert eagle and AK-47 blazing. He must have known I was going to pull something stupid, as he was obviously hanging around nearby. I’ll bet he came running as soon as the shooting started. How else can I explain away the almost divine timing that saw him turn up right at that very moment? A second later and it would have been lights out for Qurbani Singh.

Talking to him later in the safe house, I barely remembered the rest of the journey. Apparently he picked me up, dragged me out from the middle of Pala by himself and put me back on my feet at the jetty on the north-western side of town. He even covered my retreat as I got in a boat and puttered downstream to collapse on the camp bed of the nearest safe-house. When I asked him about it, thanking him profusely, he simply gave me a thumbs up and said “Don’t mention it, man”.

But then I told him some bad news – my malaria condition was getting worse and I was all out of pills. I needed to see the priest back in town and get him to fix me up. I won’t soon forget the look Warren gave me as I walked out the door. He wanted to say something, but he held his tongue. Perhaps that itself took more bravery.

The Priest was actually out of pills (again!) but he knew of a family that had some and sent me to courier them some fake passports so they could skip the country. That was fine by me – as far as I’m concerned, the less civilians around the better. I started a fire outside the house the civvies were hiding in to flush out the nearby troops. Looked like I arrived just in time too.

After handing over the passports, I stumped off to a nearby cell phone tower to try and get some reception. Another call, another target. I deicided to play it smart and try and take the guy out from a distance. He was hiding in the shanty town of Mokuba (you will remember it from Episode 2) so how hard could it be to hit him in there? Turns out; rather hard, and I had to abandon my vantage point to get close enough to score a kill. In a surreal turn of events, I scored the killing blow with my newest favourite toy – the flare pistol. The man catches fire as the burning flare thuds into his chest and he falls to the ground, expired.

The flare goes off, sending my target into the next life with a fitting bang.

Speaking of bangs – I heard recently that my good friend from another life, Andre Hyppolite, was recently killed in the bush out here. I set out to track him down, taking the bus to the South Eastern bus depot. His last known whereabouts were near a guard post and under the cover of darkness I approached. I drew my grenade launcher and took out the first two guards in one explosion. Another jeep roared up and I switched to my rifle to dispatch both the gunner and driver in quick succession. One last guard was done away with and my revenge for Andre was all but complete.

Climbing atop a rocky outcropping behind the guardpost, I surveyed the scene. To my delight, I spotted it. The very same jeep that reports say claimed Andre’s life. I took aim and blew that bastard away. It was a small and perhaps petty memorial - a strange choice of method to mark the passing of a life. Maybe it is a little perverse to declare that one person’s death is meaningful in the face of so many nameless, faceless others, but it meant something to me, however little.

That was Episode 3 of Permanent Death. Thanks for reading and if you too are playing along at home, feel free to keep us updated on how you’re going.

Just so there’s no confusion, my co-experimenter Nels Anderson’s in-game character died this week. He said to me via twitter, “I got kinda punked”. I hate to say this Nels, but Andre knew what he was getting into when he chose this life, and so did you. There is no getting punked, in Permanent Death - only Life and the promise of a swift end.


Nels Anderson said...

You're quite right, and that end was swift indeed. Great stories and I'm glad you hear you're still going. It's crazy how something like missing a single shot turns a quick get in/get out in Pala into a pitched battle you end up needing rescue from.

And once again, my thanks for an appropriate sendoff. I'm glad that jeep got what was coming to it.

Anonymous said...

How did you manage to obtain the SAW at the beginning of the game when it's only available in Act II? Hmm...

Ben Abraham said...

I'm using the PKM, not the SAW. You're right, anon, that it's not available till later on in the game. I've run actually out of unlock missions already. =P

Elliott Richards said...

Hi. I commented on episode 2 about the difficulty problem.

Well, I was thinking about jumping onto the band wagon as soon as I read this thanks to the Far Cry 2 website.

I've finally done so, click on the link via my name to see my first episode.

I've given the details on my character and now I'll be entering the story.

Please give it a good read, and leave a comment. I've also raised the difficulty to Infamous. I'm very good at this game, although I'm a run-and-gunner.

When I start to think about what I'm doing, I'm sure I'll realise how much my gameplay is affected by this Permanent Death operation.

Also the stakes are so high that staying alive seems ridiculous. I will probably die on the road whilst driving, because it isn't safe to even do that! I'm gonna have to walk and use the Buses frequently if I want to move to destinations quicker.

Perhaps jumping into a vehicle when vital, and safe. Driving across a desolate field, with its only life being the animals grazing in the Sun, and the wind blowing through the Brush.

Please keep reading and see how things go.