Before we continue on as Alton, I just wanted to kind of show off a neat little thing. Characters in this game that are possessable won’t just stand around once you stop controlling them - each character has a couple of locations they’ll visit (they’ll usually wander around the ship or be in their room). In this case, however, we can actually use this to our advantage!
If you stop possessing Alton at this point and switch back to being the cat (say, to go save), Alton will be standing right outside Sue’s room. We could go right in, but let’s take a minute and explore the ship first. Thankfully, someone on Steam was nice enough to make a map-sized screenshot of the game, so I’ll just borrow these rather than trying to stitch together my own.
Right now, we’re on the middle deck. Sue’s room is the one marked by the number three.
If we go up a level, we find a guy who looks like a rejected Gilligan’s Island character running around in front of the Observation Room, where Alton works.
This is Ferdinand, the ship’s first mate. I won’t post his dialog just yet, because we’ll be coming back to talk to him a bit later in this update. The door across from Ferdinand leads to the dining room.
This is the inside of the Observation Room, which looks remarkably nice for a crappy cruise ship. Alton can access his laptop here, which does effectively the same thing as using his special ability.
The lower passage on the third floor leads to the deck, home of a guy dressed remarkably like the detective from Ghost Trick. All he’s missing is the jacket.
Alton can ask almost every character in the game if they want to check out the Observation Room. Let’s do that with this guy. He looks like he could use a night at a dance club… even if the DJ is some random guy on a cruise ship.
: “Well, the observation room has windows. So you can, you know, observe…”
: “Like I said, I prefer to watch the sunset. Out here.”
This is Darryl, one of the passengers aboard the Douce Amere. He’s kind of a jerk, but that’s pretty much the response Alton gets from everyone when he asks them about the observation room. Guess it’s kinda tough when people can see the surroundings from the deck, which is all of maybe 20 feet away.
Finally, the highest level of the ship is the bridge. I believe every character can come up here (which normally would be a massive security hazard on an actual ship) and look at stuff, but Alton won’t touch any of the controls. We don’t really have much else to do, so let’s go check out Sue and see what she’s doing.
Sue’s name is actually Xu - it’s an anglicized version of her name.
: “Not much with me. How are you?”
: “I’m okay. Um, you can come in.”
: “Oh, right.”
We’re given two dialog options and… oh god, Alton… no… don’t do it! It’s not worth it! Don’t be a Reginald!
No, Alton! Why?!
: “Oh, that sounds…nice.”
Oh god no Alton you’re doubling down that’s not what you’re supposed to do!
: “Oh… yeah. Well, I’m usually pretty busy, but maybe when I have time.”
Alton? What’s going on? Respond! Alton? ALLTONNNN!"
Let’s just pretend that didn’t happen, even though it totally did.
: “Y-yes! Everything’s alright. I’m sorry if I made you worry.”
: “Right. Well, I guess that’s everything. See you later.”
I’m honestly amazed he didn’t just ask her about the mixtape again.
: “I haven’t been completely honest.”
: “You were right. Something happened last night.”
: “Someone broke into my room and stole something.”
: “W…what?! How?!”
: “I don’t know. My door lock felt… different today. I think someone forced it open.”
: “Oh, they stole a, um… a family heirloom. An old vase. Yeah.”
: “It isn’t worth a lot of money, but they probably didn’t know that.”
: “But it would be really, really great if I could get it back.”
: “I guess they were looking for something expensive that they could pawn.”
: “Some people have no shame when it comes to money.”
: "No! We can’t!’
: “Um, I mean… I’d prefer to keep this just between the two of us, for now.”
: “I don’t know if we can trust the other ship staff. We don’t know who was behind this, after all.”
Now that we’ve gone through all of Xu’s dialogue, a new option pops up. Like Snatcher or Policenauts, a lot of this game revolves around exhausting dialogue.
: “Really? No, I wouldn’t want to get you caught up in this…”
: “Hey, that’s why I came here in the first place, right?”
: “…Thank you, Alton.”
: “We could start by talking to people around the ship.”
: “Maybe we’ll notice something.”
: “Alright! We can do this!”
: “I’d start upstairs. Marcurio is probably in the kitchen, behind the dining room. And the first mate is… well, he’s easy to find.”
This bit of dialogue is a little strange, mostly because you would assume Alton would know a bit about the other crewmembers given that he works here and all. Still, he DOES try to pawn off mixtapes on people so maybe there’s a reason for that. Also, this would be a good time to post the rest of those maps I borrowed!
This is the lower deck. Paulo’s room is the one marked by the number 6.
And this is the upper deck. We’ll take Xu’s advice and head up to see Marcurio first. Ferdinand and Darryl should still be up there as well, so we can get three of the seven suspects out of the way at once. Note that there are more than 7 people on the boat: no one seems to know that Paulo is aboard, so he’s not counted.
: “As the first mate of this vessel, it is my duty to assist the staff in any way I can.”
I haven’t mentioned it yet, but this game is really, really nice about how it handles conversations. Anything marked with an exclamation point is necessary to advance the plot, with everything else being optional. However, for sake of completeness and because these characters are actually pretty well-written, I’m going to include all of the possible unique dialogue points. If you’re in a rush, or just reading this LP at work, feel free to skip them.
: “She’s purring like a kitten! At this rate, we’ll reach our destination right on time!”
: “I have to say, all credit goes to our lovely captain. She is a true professional!”
You know, that’s kind of odd. No one’s ever mentioned the captain before.
: “She must have turned in for the night. She was around a little earlier, I think.”
: “We make a great team, I think! She’s a little rough around the edges with people, but I’m a natural people-person.”
: “And I may be a little fuzzy with the details, but she is the paragon of diligence.”
: “They seem quite content. But perhaps - as the ship entertainer - you are more of an authority on the matter!”
: “I’m sure you’ve been able to acquaint yourself with all the passengers at the Observation Room, yes?”
: “No one goes to the observation room.”
: “Haha! Oh Alton, you’re such a kidder!”
Wait… did he just say… oh god, this is going to turn right into Harvester, isn’t it?
: “I’m sure with your natural charm and talent, it’s party central over there!”
He says to the guy who just tried to get Xu to listen to his mixtape of what is no doubt generic techno.
: “Party city! Party headquarters! Party palooza!”
What Ferdinand doesn’t know is that the first two went out of business permanently after Halloween got cancelled that one year due to a hurricane. True story.
: “Why don’t you stop by, then?”
: “Ooh, hmm, yes, I would, I really would.”
: “But you see, I’m busy. So busy. Yes, very much so.”
: “With the boat, you know. Looking after the boat.”
Says the guy who spends most of his time prancing around the ship like an idiot. I bet he’d listen to Alton’s mixtape.
: “But really, it’s for the best. I’d just cramp your style!”
Let’s move on to the big question now.
: “Last night? Why, I was making sure all of the ship’s readings were correct.”
: “Double checking all of our instruments in the pilothouse. Yes, that took a while.”
: “I got to bed rather late, I must admit, but it was worth it!”
: “Isn’t that something the captain would normally do?”
: “Maybe… but is it not my job, as the first mate, to assist the captain in any way I can?”
: “She cannot be everywhere at once. So, I am like an extension to her eyes and ears!”
: “That means making sure everything is in order, at all parts of the ship, all the time.”
There is one thing that’s kind of strange about the Douce Amere and that’s that there’s no engineers. I have a feeling the writer didn’t put those characters in for simplicity’s sake rather than out of disregard for detail. Usually, a first mate on a modern civilian ship is in charge of personnel and maybe taking the occasional watch cycle.
Now that we’re done questioning Ferdinand, we can go to the kitchen and talk to Marcurio. Strangely, any one of the possessable characters can enter the kitchen straight up. It hasn’t been said outright yet, but Xu is basically Marcurio’s assistant - so she at least has a reason to go in there.
The kitchen is rather… sparse for a cruise ship.
Interestingly, the refrigerator has a lock on it. Alton can’t look inside or Marcurio will complain at him, but I wonder why Marcurio would bother to lock a fridge that’s already behind a door in the first place.
: “At all.”
: “Well, whatever. Need something?”
: “It’s nothing. Don’t worry about it.”
: “Good. Do me a favor and don’t touch anything, alright?”
: “I have my own system. Please don’t mess up my system.”
: “Yeah. Stayed after hours cleaning and stuff, like usual.”
: “You spent the entire night cleaning the kitchen?”
: “No. I spent some time organizing, too.”
: “Look, I have an inventory to manage and keep stock of.”
: “If I get sloppy and disorganized, stuff gets forgotten. Things go bad. Money is lost.”
: “I bet I have to do more management work on this boat than everyone else combined.”
: “… So yeah, I spent the entire night in the kitchen.”
: “I’ll do whatever it takes to get off this tin can. Anything.”
: “If I have to work in this terrible place, I’m going to make it the best terrible place in the world.”
: “I’m not going to be a creature of circumstance. I create my own circumstances.”
Sounds like he REALLY hates his job.
Our next stop is the top deck, where Darryl and… someone else are waiting. The other person here moves around the ship while Darryl will pretty much confine himself to the top deck, so let’s talk to her first.
This is Quella. Quella is actually one of the more important people aboard the ship despite being just a passenger.
: “I’ve just been busy writing. That’s all I seem to do, just about!”
: “What are you writing?”
: “I’ve been working on a book for a while now.”
: “The first draft is pretty close to being finished, but there’s still a lot to do.”
: "So, I’m trying to power through this last stretch!’
: “What’s it about?”
: "Oh, you really want to know? Cool!’
: “Well, it’s a science fiction story that takes place in the far future.”
: “The world is dying and coming to an end, basically.”
: “It focuses on a small group of characters and how they cope with it.”
: “Wow, that sounds…depressing.”
: “It may sound that way, but it’s actually a happy story.”
: “It’s about endings. I mean, everything ends, and often before we’re ready.”
: “But endings are necessary. They teach us to enjoy what we have while it’s here.”
: “And even when we find ourselves in what seems like a living nightmare, we can still find comfort.”
: “I guess it’s not a happy story. It’s… bittersweet?”
This is kind of a pun. The name of the ship, Douce Amere, means “bittersweet” in English.
: “Well, I was doing the same thing I do most nights…writing.”
: “Man, I went to bed too late and got up this morning all groggy. But I do my best writing really late!”
: “Why, what’s up?”
: “Oh, um… nobody was at the Observation Room last night. It was pretty quiet.”
: “I’m sure everybody was just busy with their own stuff. Like me!”
: “I wouldn’t worry about it. Maybe people will stop by later.”
Finally, we’ve got Darryl where he’s been the entire time. We might as well talk to him now, since all of the other people on the ship tend to congregate on the lower deck.
: “So, what were you up to?”
: “I was here, outside the ship for the whole night.”
: "Well, not really. The captain came out and kept trying to talk to me, so I went back to my room.’
: “That’s all.”
: “You don’t like the captain?”
: “I don’t like her or dislike her. I don’t know anything about her.”
Our next victim is this guy. This is Donovan, and like Quella, he tends to roam around, mainly between his room and the hall. Unlike most of the people on the Douce Amere, Donovan keeps his room locked at all times, meaning he can be kind of a pain to find. Donovan doesn’t have any interesting optional dialogues (he’ll basically just try to get Alton to go away) but we do have to try asking him what he was doing last night.
: “Nothing. Why do you care?”
: “My friend lost something last night. I was wondering if you saw it.”
: “Your friend, huh?”
: “No, I didn’t see anything last night.”
: “Come to think of it, other things have seemed to go missing around here too.”
: “You don’t think it was…stolen, do you?”
: “Yeah, maybe it was stolen. Any idea who would steal it?”
: “I wouldn’t know. It was just a thought.”
: “On a boat this small and with so few people, it would be easy for them to get caught, though.”
: “You have to wonder what would cause someone to take that risk.”
Alton’s room is on the way downstairs, so I figured I’d show off what it looks like. I think it would’ve been kind of neat if you could have Alton hide his laptop and the spare headphones (since you just know Alton is one of those people buying $700 headphones) since there’s a potential thief afoot, but alas.
On the lower deck, where we started, we run into one of the two remaining characters we haven’t met yet.
: “…Oh, hi!”
: “You should take a look at my parrotlets. They’ve learned some phrases!”
: “They seem to love attention, so don’t be shy.”
: “They’ve learned phrases?”
: “Sure! Most people just think of parrots talking, but parakeets and parrotlets can talk too.”
: “They’re still young, so they don’t know too much.”
: “But I think I’m a pretty good trainer, if I do say so myself.”
: “Love is a bit of a strong word, but they do keep me company.”
: “They may not be as smart as humans, but they’re simpler. They don’t have mortgages or mid-life crises, and they don’t lie.”
: “It’s comforting that the things I can give them - food, shelter - are all they’ll ever need.”
: “Wouldn’t you agree?”
: “Mortgages or mid-life crises? What does that have to do with cats and birds?”
: “What I mean is that pets have no desire or ambition.”
: “Humans, we… we always like to have dreams, and plans. We’re always chasing something. Or someone.”
: “But these desires can hurt ourselves. Or worse, it can hurt other people.”
: “Those dreams can be manipulated by others for their own ends.”
: “Are we still talking about pets, or…”
: “Oh, I’m sorry, I started rambling there!”
: “Don’t mind me - the older I get, the more I go on about things.”
: "Oh, hello!’
: “Have you seen my cat? She’s a nice black Bombay.”
: “She likes to explore a lot, so I let her move around the ship. Maybe you’ve seen her.”
: “You have a cat? Cool! What’s it’s name?”
: “Her name? Sunshine. It’s one of those ironic names, since she’s black.”
: “It was my daughter who picked the name actually.”
: “I… would have picked something else.”
: “Last night? I wouldn’t know, myself. I was just looking after my pets at the time.”
: “Actually, last night a rat snuck into my room! Thankfully, I managed to kill it.”
: “Can’t let any filthy rats spread diseases to my pets.”
: “I didn’t know there were rats on this ship.”
: “Oh, sure. I imagine they sneak on the ship when it docks. Once they get on, there’s nothing to do but kill them.”
So yeah, Garv is kind of a creepy old guy. At least now we know the cat’s name - Sunshine - and that the cat belongs to him. We’ll try visiting him as Sunshine in the next update.
The last remaining passenger just happened to walk onscreen at the right time.
For right now, Gwen is totally mute.
: “Maybe we should just move on.”
: “I don’t know if this is working. It seems like we’re just creeping people out.”
Regardless of how Alton answers…
: “I don’t know. Maybe we should go back to my room and rethink things.”
Well, that about does it for this update. Next update, we’ll finish the first of the game’s four chapters, and get some new people to possess!
Alton’s Steam trading card (small ver.)
Xu’s Steam trading card (small ver.)