All of the roads and the struggles in Tokyo have led to this: the Dream Palace. As I go in, my head is buzzing with questions. Who is the Rabbit Killer? Why is Orochi a jerk? Who set off the filth bomb? How can things be set right? Is that lady back in Kingsmouth still killing zombies beside her gigantic bonfire? And, most importantly, who is John?
I think we’re about to find out. Lots of spoilers, obviously.
In the lobby of the hotel is Kaoru, a transgender receptionist who’s working for the Phoenecians (“You did not come here because our beds are soft but because our sails are purple.”) She mentions the Morninglight, but more importantly, John. A key is passed to me. Go upstairs and find out who he is.
Going up the stairs I find a piece of black lore that warns me that there’s no reason to go to the AV room — and that it would hurt me if I did. Awesome.
The AV room is creepy as all get out. As I investigate different pieces of equipment, electronics keep shorting out and an angry voice calls me “Chuck” and warns me off again. Filfth floods the room, I fall asleep, and the voice — John, I assume — tells me that I’m going to take on the dreams of those who have fallen asleep here.
I am OH SO GLAD I’m playing this at night after my family’s gone asleep. The Secret World still makes me so jumpy.
The dreamscape takes me to outside of the Fear Nothing building, where a young man whose face I can’t see (but has the “John” name tag on) talks about being afraid when he went in but anxious to be chosen.
Inside the building, John takes me on a horrible tour of his time with Fear Nothing. How he loved Bingo cola. How he was in love with one of the instructors. How Che flew in to mold him like a “clay dinosaur.” I get a closer look at John’s face, and it’s a raw, red thing.
The mission thus far hasn’t been hard, mostly like walking around in an interactive cutscene. John and Che go out on the town and get into a brawl at the diner, get completely drunk, then have a dance-off with Ricky Pagan (which I, hilariously, have to do as well). If you didn’t think Che was a slimy jerk before, then this mission will convince you.
Well after that bit of fun, I saw John meeting with THE Philip Marquard, the leader of the Morninglight. This was a huge moment, since up to this point we’ve only heard about him… and even here, all we see are his hands.
Then John goes to his apartment, scared about the bomb, and I have to fight giant Lilith busts shooting laser beams and accursed skulls at me. Just another day at TSW office, really.
Next up in our nightmare tour is a visit to the pre-bomb Tokyo subway. Everyone’s frozen in place, creating a strange maze of human bodies to navigate. Eventually I get into the subway car and see John from a distance… closing in, it happens. He starts seeing Lilith everywhere and detonates the filth bomb, becoming part of it. Or at least able to see through filth creatures’ eyes.
Then John looks into me, into my past — a week ago, although that’s laughable considering how much time has gone by. But we’re back at the beginning of the game, except that this time everything’s slightly different. A black filth bee flies into my mouth instead of a good bee. The TV reports on the military eating the victims of Tokyo.
As seen from my adventures, um, last week.
John takes over the TV in my apartment to fast-forward through my adventures in TSW to date, which is one of those “dang this game is so cool” moments. Seeing old friends and NPCs like Carter and Danny again, wow. John asks me if I want to know which ones of these are going to die.
The next portion of the mission is John fast-fowarding until he sees a boss he likes, and then he makes me fight them. One for each of the AEGIS types — Beaumont, the Black Pharoah, the vampire queen. Total trip down memory lane. Beaumont was a little tricky, but it got easier from there.
After that, my memories show John that I’ve met Lilith, back when she was lasering off my leg and telling me of all of her names. John is obviously, sincerely terrified of her, but he’s actually impressed that I’m brave enough to stand up to her. And so, with that realization, he turns from an enemy to an ally and vows to unlock the Orochi tower so I can go get her.
But that ain’t going to happen until Issue 11. This is as far as I go… for now.
While there are a lot of questions left to be answered, I’m pretty darn satisfied with the big pieces of the puzzle that were delivered with this mission (and I’m 99% sure that Kaoru is the Rabbit Killer, because who else would be?). The story of John and how he came to Fear Nothing, was manipulated to become the filth bomb deliverer, and his intense fear of Lilith (although I’m still not quite sure why he’s so scared of her) was engrossing to watch. I felt pretty bad for him afterward.