OK then! When last
we left our former ARC-narcs, Hell had kind of BSOD'd on them, and some
mysterious "Deepthroat" had left a message with Dante for them to meet
him at the cyberspace address "garage". Using our newly acquired
psychopomp, let's do that!
happens if you enter an invalid address. Entering a valid address gives
you the usual skullface, spiky helmet animation, though now we know
it's all just smoke and mirrors...
Garage: For some
odd reason, Deepthroat chooses to appear in a
cyberlocation designed to look like an old-fashioned subterranean
You are face-to-face with Deepthroat. At least, you assume it's his
face, since appearances are deceiving in this virtual environment.
You came! I was
counting on you being desperate enough to chance it.
Oh, we're here, all right. When a hell pit locks up like a phracker's
shanty, we get real curious. Speaking of jury-rigged environments,
what's the story with this place?
Forgive the incomplete nature of the area. It betrays my haste in
fashioning it. I devoted most of my efforts to cloaking this WELL from
internet-related meaning of WELL I'm familiar with is this
but Hell seems to be using it to mean a sort of personal VR home-space.
Take 2's other early celebrity-studded cyberpunk adventure game, Ripper,
frequently used the term in a similar fashion.
Doesn't matter. We
obviously aren't here to talk about the place, no matter how weird it
I've been following your activities as best I can by monitoring the ARC
online chatter. I only meant to contact you. Causing Asmodeus's hell
pit to lock up was an unexpected side effect. I know that you've been
framed, but I don't know why. I also know that you've taken up with the
Citizens' Freedom Front.
Yeah, we know what
we've been doing. What about hell?
It is the greatest lie in human history, Rachel! Your boyfriend's got
it right. It's all computer-generated. You see, from the beginning, the
Hand knew that fear was its greatest weapon. They spent billions of
dollars tapping into centuries of fear and superstition, humankind's
tribal horrors and primal fears. The military and CIA had already
stockpiled immense research on the subject, and transglobal CEOS and
ambitious secular politicians willingly backed the Hand. They were
confident they could share in the Hand's rule of the country, but once
the gates of hell opened, Solux swept all non-believers from power.
Those were the first nights of the scrub teams, the first nights of
So hell is a
computer program. No one is damned, then?
Oh, no, no. Oh, no. People are damned. They're hurt. The burning is in
the mind, but that makes it no less real. Oh, no...no. The only thing
not virtual here is the pain and the death. The death is real.
everything. There's so much we have to ask you.
Not now. I'll contact you again. I will be your...deepthroat. Keep in
touch with Dante. I'll contact him when I need to speak with you.
And then we're
automatically booted from the garage WELL and returned to Dante's
Talk to Dante
No word from him yet. Man, I hope they haven't whacked him. He'd better
get his ass out of the Pentagon. I'll keep scanning for him.
Time to head back
to the British Embassy and fill Senator Burr in on our big discovery.
Talk to Derek
We have news about
hell. You think you're confused now, wait 'til you hear this.
Any data on hell is
to go directly to Senator Burr. I take my orders from her like everyone
Burr's office, we find it empty, so we head over to the computer room,
where we find her meeting with Katerina.
Talk to Katerina
Watch your step.
It's not safe here for former ARC agents still heeding their master's
You got a problem,
woman? 'Cause we can settle it right now.
Talk to the Senator.
She knows the score.
Talk to Katerina
I told you to speak
to the Senator, or are you hiding something?
Talk to Erin Burr
Something bad's happened, hasn't it? The assassination attempt on
The attempt on Solux has failed. The homing device was discovered and
reprogrammed. The missile meant for Solux struck a tenement building.
Fortunately, most of the residents were on the street watching Solux
pass by, so no one was killed. Thank god. I knew it was a mistake to
attempt such extreme measures.
Question is how they found the homing transmitter. We spent over a year
devising ways to cloak its signal. Spent a small fortune on stealth
materials for the casing. People risked their lives to obtain paint
samples from Solux's car. Xenon was a fool to use these two to do his
Watch who you're accusing, Katerina. Your plan was dicey from the
start. I don't care how mondo your homing device was; you think the
Hand techs aren't three steps ahead of you? Judas Priest, it's the
Imperator's parade car! You think they don't scan almost every molecule
of that thing?
There is no time for this! There is no time for recriminations! As you
see, Gideon and Rachel, some of my staff do not trust you.
Yeah, we noticed
that with Literati. He's got a big problem with us.
Marcus Vanders and Claudette Simeon of the attack squad were his
closest friends. He hasn't been the same since their death. When they
disappeared, something inside him disappeared as well.
Solux's secret. We've discovered the secrets of hell!
Hell's secrets? I've
no time for idle boasts. Tell me what you know.
The Imperator doesn't have the keys to hell, but Solux does have a team
of ace hackers and hardware at least three generations ahead of
anything you've ever seen. Hell isn't real. They're computer-generating
the whole thing.
Computer-generating?! But how?
The Hand has ruled like Luddites, outlawing most cutting-edge tech, but
that hasn't stopped the government itself from moving ahead full bore.
They've been developing cyberspace and decking technologies to a
sophisticated degree. When they damn people, they don't physically send
them anywhere. The victim's nervous system is linked to a computer
network that's generating an enormously complex virtual
environment...and that's hell.
My god! You're
certain of this?
We've got a deepthroat inside the Pentagon. He's a programmer who
spends his days backing up data generated by the hell program. They've
got everyone's nightmares on tape. He's spilling everything he knows.
Everything he's said so far is consistent with our experiences in the
All right, all right. This changes everything! Can you get to this
person, this deepthroat? We must speak with him! We must have him here
with Katerina, working on some way to destroy hell. If it's a computer
program we can crash, we can devise a bug or virus and reduce the gates
of hell to virtual ruins. Correct, Katerina?
Maybe! I mean, in theory, any program, any data can be corrupted. It's
a matter of understanding their code, and it'll depend on hardware.
I'll need information...lots of it.
You heard her, Gideon, Rachel. Bring me this deepthroat. We must have
him on our team. In the meantime, we must plan. If we bring down the
Hand, we must be prepared to replace it with something better; we must
be prepared to govern! The Front has a number of important allies,
former government officials who have resigned their posts rather than
serve under the Hand, and activists who the Hand deemed too subversive
to remain free. All of them will be crucial to forming a government
that can take charge when Solux is defeated. The Imperator, of course,
knows this and has apprehended them, consigning all of them to hell. We
had never seen a way to rescue them until now. Can you access hell at
We think so. We have
access to a psychopomp, which, as it turns out, is only a disguised
Good. You two must undertake to rescue our people being tortured in
hell. If I understand this correctly, they are most likely linked to a
computer somewhere in the Pentagon. We have spies inside. Hopefully one
of them will be able to free their bodies while you free their minds.
Katerina will brief you on the identities of the prisoners. While you
work to free them, we will devise a means of destroying hell.
Talk to Katerina
All right, so I have to Mission Impossible you two on some of the Front
star power who've taken a ride on Charon's jetski? Get ready. The list
reads like a who's who of Establishment figures gone disgrunt.
Any theories on how we're gonna find these people? We've got a
psychopomp, but what next? We can't just make blind decks. Hand's
C-space jocks would find us in minutes.
We're a little lucky there. The Hand's given us a head start. You know
how they run it. Hell isn't scary if the folks at home don't know
something about it. Hand's buzzed us the sweaty locales of some of the
prisoners. 'Course, the Hand never figured on their enemies having a
psychopomp. If the psychos are anything like the Acti-Decks, then
they've got some cutting-edge intentionality engines. The psycho should
be able to scan for the hell areas you're aware of, and offer them as
an option for travel.
Let's if I have this right. We just use the psychopomp in this room, as
it to take us to Charon, and we can go to any hell location we're
familiar with...and to leave a hell pit, I assume we just return to
That's the theory. Remember, the psychopomps are for the bad guys who
run hell. It's supposed to be easy for them to get around. Listen now;
here are the people you have to rescue from hell. There are twelve of
them in total. We know that Eddie Commerce is being held by a demon
named Machalas in some manner of hell zoo.
Isn't Commerce the
underground comic, the really subversive guy?
That's right. The
Hand kept censoring his act. Finally he got fed up and went full-blown
That's one. Who
Front's top EE guy...a shaman with circuitry, a Texan named Dingo
Tucker...is being held in one of Beelzebub's pits that's apparently
teeming with rats. Former Secretary of State Czeschew is having his
gums eternally torn open by a dentist demon named Malebolge. Prudence
Alala, Senator Burr's chief of staff, is getting the traditional
hellfire treatment. Multi-billionaire Conklin Danforth is encased in a
block of ice beside a tributary that leads to hell's frozen sea. Former
Secretary of Defense Trenton is in one of Mephisto's pits. That's all I
got on these guys, but it's a good start.
That's a good start.
There is one other thing. Townson Ellers is the chief tactical planner
for the CFF. We can't attack the Pentagon without his expertise.
Apparently he's being tortured by Satan personally. That can't be good,
even if Satan is just a computer image. Don't know how to access him
yet, but you'll be duking it out with Satan before this is over. One of
our people inside of the Pentagon reported that they've located where
our torture victims' bodies are being held while they're in the
Great. They can just
disconnect the psychopomps and save us a lot of sweat.
Life ain't that easy, Rachel. Release of their bodies is apparently
blocked until their minds are freed from their torture in hell. Once
that happens, our agents in the Pentagon assure us they can move the
Talk to Katerina
We need to get
everybody out of there before we can try to crash hell.
Talk to Burr
You should resist coming here unless you have something important to
report about the attack squad, Solux, or hell. Just visiting the
embassy is reason enough for the Hand to pick you up.
So begins our first
set of hell rescue missions; we'll be getting more of them later. They
typically involve freeing a prisoner from a hazard or demon by way of
simple inventory puzzles or puzzles of varying difficulty. Before we
get started, though, we can go chat up Derek for a bit more dialogue.
Talk to Derek
Senator Burr had me monitoring the meeting. I can't pretend I grasp all
the implications of hell being a computer program, but I know you two
are putting it on the line for all of us. I want to apologize for how
hard I was on you. It's my job to be the Senator's hammer; I can't
allow myself to trust anyone.
Guess I can see how
you might be suspicious of two ARC agents claiming to be switching
I hope you can get
our guys back. I'll be working out the logistics for a strike against
the Pentagon, if we get that far.
Talk to Derek
Don't give it up. We can bring the Hand down if we stay together. Bring
any further data directly to Senator Burr in the command center.
Nice to see him
coming around. Anyway, as Katerina explained, we can use the psychopomp
to travel to address "Charon" from the CFF computer room (for some
reason, it doesn't work anywhere else).
Landing: The "ferry" isn't what ferries used to be, but then, the river
isn't what you'd expect, either.
proverbial figure of Death has become a bit cheerier of late, having
put down his scythe to take up a new business.
Talk to Charon
Greetings! Welcome to Charon's Boatrides along the scenic Styx. My name
is Charon, and I'll be your guide on this red-water rafting trip.
Passengers are advised not to dip their hands into the river, or they
will pull back a CHARRED STUMP. And beware of the spray, as it will
dapple your complexion with searing lesions and, well, outright holes.
As there is limited seating, passengers are further advised to cling to
each other for dear life. We hope that you regret traveling with us
today, that you suffer mercilessly during your stay, and that you come
again. Please state your destination.
Oh hee hee hee. I
love that speech. Anyway, this will be our hub location for all future
explorations of hell, and Charon will be our DC Map analogue; talking
to him gets us a list of available destinations. Here's what we've got
Hey, that dentist's
office sounds like fun. Onward, Charon!
Dentist's Office: Although the only person in hell who is
perhaps more sadistic than Malebolge the dentist is his interior
decorator, the decor isn't the sole giveaway that this is the office of
a fiend. The blood spattered around the victim's chair contribures to
Hell's version of a dentist's drill is bigger and nastier than anything
Bucket: This medieval-looking wooden bucket is used in the hell
dentist's office to catch bloody gauze, which explains the creepy
Tank: This cartridge contains NO2 gas, which is not lethal but can
knock people out nearly instantly. Demons, it just makes crazier.
Czeschew: The former Secretary of State, Alfred Czeschew, writhes in
extreme pain in Malebolge's dental chair. Obviously, the demon works
without anesthesia. Czeschew kicks and screams; bloody saliva runs from
a tube in his mouth and splashes onto the floor.
A hideous demon dentist practices his profession. Blood drains through
a tube from the patient's mouth as he squirms and thrashes in agony.
Malebolge drills and hammers, pulls and tears at healthy teeth and
gums. He frequently breathes nitrous oxide from a gas mask to add to
This is one of the
more unnerving prison pits, largely because both Malebolge's drill and
Czeschew are letting out a constant horrendous screeching. Eeeeee.
Regardless, we'll swipe the gauze bucket, extra drill, and gas
canister; Malebolge either doesn't care or is too busy to pay us any
Talk to Alfred
Well, I guess
Talk to Malebolge
Stop squirming! If you hadn't waited so long between checkups, this
wouldn't have happened! Besides, it isn't good for you if it doesn't
hurt a little! Hee hee! Oh, sorry, did I hit a nerve? Oops, hit it
again! Sorry! Aaahaha, heeheehee!
What's that? No insurance? I'm afraid we'll have to bypass the
anaesthesia and keep that for the doctor! (Sniff, snort snort) Ahh,
that stuff is sweet. I do love dentistry.
Sit still, or I'll
really have to hurt you! Now RINSE AND SPIT!
replaced Malebolge's regular nitrous oxide with
the nerve gas we lifted from Sanguinarius's hellpit. Let's see if he
I think he noticed.
Ohh, thank you. You
can't believe how painful. I kept telling him I'd just had my teeth
capped, but he just...kept...drilling!
We're with the Front. You're not really in hell. We haven't got time to
explain. In a few seconds you're going to wake up in a room inside the
Pentagon. The Front has a woman inside who will get you out. Get ready
Alfred Czeschew now
does the traditional wooden-skeleton cruise back to reality. We can now
return to our new hub location by going to the toolbar up top, where
the DC Map icon has been replaced by the Styx, like so:
While we're at the
dock, we can scoop up some of that river water in our new gauze bucket.
Bucket of Styx Water: This bucket isn't on fire; it contains water from
the river Styx.
We'll tackle the
music room next.
The Hell Music
Room: The tiles with the musical staves and notes
actually give this hell pit something of a cheery air...but it is,
after all, a hell pit, which means you'd better watch your step.
The Former Secretary of Defense, Alice Trenton, is held captive.
Talk to Alice
Woo, nice bondage
hood. I never knew Secretaries of Defense were so kinky. Well, I did
always have my suspicions about Rumsfeld.
Hold on, Ms.
Trenton. We're here to rescue you. Are you in pain?
Hell yes, I'm in
pain! My whole body feels like it's on fire.
OK, we're going to
rescue her. Any suggestions, big guy?
I dunno, I thought
it was your turn to have an inspiration.
The glowing stones embedded in the floor emit tones when they're
stepped on. Only way to free me from my bonds is to put pressure on the
stones in the correct order. Herodias keeps telling me to shut up, that
"silence is golden" and "silence is my only chance of getting out of
here alive". Then he starts playing the harp and singing some verse:
"Murder the dumb / torture the meek / with the scent of death / and the
gnashing of teeth". Something about silence and that verse must be the
key to my rescue, but I haven't figured it out.
What order is that?
Don't you think I'd
be telling you if I knew it?
Just hold on!
This one's pretty
easy. The clues about "silence" refer to silent letters in the demon's
song: dum[B], tortur[E], s[C]ent, de[A]th, and [G]nashing. All we have
to do is push the floor tiles with the B, E, C, A, and G notes, in that
Took you long
enough! Now, then, I assume you can get me out of here?
That's easily done.
You should feel it happening any second now.
A cutscene is
supposed to happen here, and sometimes it does, but the trigger for it
seems a bit flaky; sometimes it happens quite a bit later. For example,
even though it specifically refers to two rescues, it didn't happen for
this runthrough until I'd rescued five prisoners. I'll put it
in here, though, where it's supposed to happen.
Well, isn't this lovely? What heroes they must consider themselves! Two
people rescued by our gallant ARC renegades! In and out of hell
unsinged, and no sign of the Imperator! How special they must
feel...aaahahahaha! It's a trap, you dumb little shits; come into my
Oh man, Cyborg
Grace Jones is totally on to us. Well, nothing for it but to continue
with the mission. To the Ratroom!
Ratroom: The space of this subterrane seems eerily vacant...until you
notice the huge rat traps, and then the mysterious tubes; they're
clear, but smeared on the inside with some kind of slime...
Tucker: Dingo Tucker's face is frozen in sheer terror as he is
suspended in a series of tubes. Husky, hungry rats race through the
tubes looking for a way to get at Dingo's flesh.
So Dingo's trapped
in a series of tubes, in a VR representation of hell...a twofold
prisoner of the internet. Poor bastard.
Talk to Dingo
Oh, god, rats! I
Tucker, are you
hurt? Are you all right?
Hell no, I'm not all right! Rats are my worst nightmare. I can
practically feel them crawling over me. I hear them scratching and
chirping. I feel their weight against me when they throw themselves
against the tubes...and they're hungry! They're gonna get me. They're
gonna eat my skin!
Just hold on. We'll
get you out of there. The rats aren't real. This whole thing, all of
hell, it's just a computer construct.
You crazy, girl? Cain't you feel the heat? Look at the teeth on those
buggers! They can flay the tissue off a bone in under a minute's time!
Just hold on another
second, and I'll smash the tubes.
No! Don't do that, ya fool! These rats are wild; they'll chew us up if
they git out. You gotta find some other way to free me, and hurry! I'm
losin' my mind!
This is another
simple inventory puzzle; all we have to do is dump some of the
dentist's laughing gas into the tubes.
Ahh, you killed 'em,
compadres. You cain't know how this feels. You can just rot here, you
They're not real, Dingo. We were trying to tell you, but you were too
frightened to hear it. All of hell is a virtual reality construct that
the government uses to create fear.
Well, they do a damn fine job of it, let me tell you! And how do you
mean, "virtual"? Ain't a deck or a system I know of that can generate
anything near this complex.
Front techs will explain it to you. Your body's currently jacked into a
machine at the Pentagon. Burr's got a woman there who'll see you out
safely. Hold on; she'll pull you out any moment.
Next stop: the zoo!
Hell Zoo: Things seem to have flip-flopped in hell's version of a zoo;
the only visible beast is the one guarding the caged human.
Everything about him says "not too smart". A second opinion would grant
that he is ugly, too. However, like a stick of dynamite, it doesn't
really matter how bright he is; he has a wide killing radius.
Commerce: A wiry, bearded man kneels with his arms tied to a large
railroad tie behind his back. Rendered immobile, he still seems to pace
with restless energy, an intellect that can't quit racing: the
of Food: This glass jar is full of what looks like rancid gravy with
large chunks of meat. The outside of the jar is caked with a crust of
Close inspection reveals that this is no walking staff; it's sharpened
at one end, and is more clearly an instrument of torture.
Small, hand-sized beasts that don't have wings, yet somehow seem to
levitate and fly.
Zoo Keys: The
keys to the zoo resemble the keys to some medieval dungeon...which, in
a way, they are.
Hell's answer to pit bulls. A little smaller, maybe, but who's looking
at their body? It's hard to see past their teeth.
In our usual
kleptomaniacal style, we'll grab both jars, the staff, some floating
beasts, and the keys. Using the keys on the Rachentieren's cage gets us
messily disemboweled in a bit of video clipped directly from the death-against-Sanguinarius
scene. So don't do that!
Talk to Machalus
Go'way. Me busy.
Torture you later.
Oh, no, we insist.
Torture us now.
This one could be
I'll say. We could laser this guy in the forehead, and he probably
wouldn't notice. You gotta admire somebody that has that kind of
Talk to Eddy
Hey, it's great to be back in hell again, although it's a little quiet
out there; this could be the sound of that one hand clapping you hear
so much about. Solux baby, you out there? I can't see the audience
'cause of the stage lights.
Bet no audience ever
stab you before. Heh-heh-heh-heh-heh.
Ahhh! Auuuughh! That's where you're wrong, you pinhead. You know how
comedians are always saying "You're killin' me, you're killin' me"?
What the hell you think they're talking about?
I'd tell you not to
worry, that this is all virtual, but you'd probably keep talking
Why is it beautiful women always have the IQ of a fence post? I could
use a break here, you morons! I'm running low on material fit for the
thinking impaired. Ahhhh! Of course, I'm saving all the good stuff for
Solux. I know you're coming, you asexual asshole! I figure you're late
'cause you can't decide what to wear. But seriously, folks, what a
leader, huh? No chance of corruption or scandal with Solene Solux! No
chance they're ever gonna catch ol' Solene doing to his-her secretary
what he-she's been doing to the country for years!
No bad talk Solux!
I wouldn't mind
taking down the steroid case with the cattle prod, but I say we leave
the twerp tied up.
Let's take care of
the keeper and let funny boy figure the rest out for himself.
Talk to Eddy
Are you waiting for your waitress to serve you? Because I think she's
on break! What, do I have to spell it out for you? OK...H-E-L-P, you
stuff here: we use the jar of food on Machalus, then unlock the
Instead of eating
us, the Rachentieren chases the food-covered demon offscreen, allowing
us to free Commerce at our leisure.
Well, it took you long enough. You know, my father never mentioned the
possibility of crucifixion, although he did always tell me that wise
guys end up sidewise. Of course, ol' daddy-o oughta know; he's been
horizontal for ten years now.
We now have
everything we need to solve the ice field, so that'll be the site of
our next rescue.
Hell Ice Field: It's so cold here that one can only imagine the
glaciers on the horizon are approaching rapidly; one victim seems to
have already been overtaken.
Danforth: Conklin Danforth, wealthy financier to the revolution, is
encased in a block of ice near Cocytus, the frozen hell lake.
Seeing as he's
frozen solid, we can't talk to Danforth, and if we try to walk across
the ice, we fall through to our deaths.
Th-th-th-th-thank you. S-s-s-s-so c-c-c-c-cold!
That's five! Last
up for now, the Wall of Flame.
Wall of Flame Hellpit: Between the Wall of Flame itself and the skulls
tossed casually about, this hell pit seems more of a charnel than any
of the other hell pits. It's as if all of the demons have tossed their
scraps here, and forgotten them...forgotten the victim suspended behind
the flame, too.
Steam Hole: A
sharp, high-pressure blast of steam.
Prudence Alala suffers hell as it's traditionally known, roaring flames
and searing heat.
Talk to Prudence
Senatorial staffers are also a little on the kinky side.
Hang on, Prudence.
Senator Burr sent us here to rescue you.
Rescue me? What do you have in mind? Just gonna stroll across that moat
of flame? My bonds are easily undone. It's getting across that moat
that's the problem. The heat's unbearable! Don't know how much longer I
can stand it!
Hold on! We'll do
what we can.
Hurry! The pain is
This requires a bit
of timing, but it's nothing too complicated. You have to put the steel
lid (acquired back in Mr. Beautiful's pit) over the steam hole between
bursts, then quickly move to stand on it.
My god, you did it!
You made it across the moat!
You're safe now. Any
moment, and you'll feel yourself fading away. I think you'll be
surprised when you reach the other end!
Anything's got to be better than this. I can't believe I'm saved...that
I'll live to see Senator Burr again, and that I'll live to fight Solux
one more time.
And with that, all
six of the initial batch of hell prisoners have been rescued,
replenishing a healthy chunk of Burr's shadow government. Next time on
IPAT: Hell...the Psionic Leeeeeeeague.