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Olive Branch
May 26, 2010

There is no wealth like knowledge, no poverty like ignorance.


The Let's Play is over! You may follow it on the Let's Play Archive.



The Last Express? What's this?

The Last Express is one of the best interactive mystery-adventure games I've ever played. It's a video game created by Jordan Mechner and Smoking Car Productions, published in 1997 by Interplay and Broderbund. If that last one sounds familiar, it's because it should: Broderbund also published the original Myst, Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?, and Prince of Persia. Jordan Mechner should also be a name you recognize, as he's the brains behind the entire Prince of Persia franchise.

It's one of the few video games that attempted to simulate real time realistically, but despite very positive reviews and critical response, the game sold poorly due to the entire marketing department quitting weeks before the game was released.

What's this game's story?

The game is set on the Orient Express in 1914, days before the start of World War I. The game begins in medias res as our avatar, Robert Cath, boards the Orient Express to meet a friend. Once on the train, we quickly discover that the Orient Express is a hotbed of intrigue, danger, treachery, and lies, and we must do all we can to survive and discover the truth behind unfolding events.

How does it play?

It's a point-and-click adventure game, much like Myst. Everything is done with the mouse, but we do have an inventory to carry items we can check, and occasionally use on people or things. Unlike Quest for Glory or other adventure games, though, The Last Express is almost always fair and, with one exception, never throws a "use the rubber chicken on the pocket lint" situation at the player. However, there is a big difference that separates The Last Express from other first-person point-and-click adventure games, and that's time.

You see, time in this game is extremely important. From the moment you step on the train, the clock is ticking. The train proceeds regardless of your actions, and characters on the train all follow their own routines and interactions with each other without regards to you. This means that you, the player, can and will miss out on conversations, hints, events, and other such activities as the game progresses. You cannot be everywhere at once, and if you're trying to solve a puzzle, sometimes you need to be in the right place at the right time.

"No fair," you may be saying. "How can I know where to go at the right time, and how do I know I'm not missing out on plot-critical information?"

Well, the game does hold your hand a little with hints and suggestions, especially early on, but eventually it frees the reigns and lets you figure things out on your own with fewer hints. This leads to the next important part of this game: rewinding the clock. At any time, you can click on a little clock icon on the bottom of the screen to open the menu and rewind or fast forward the clock to restart events. You can rewind all the way back to the beginning of the journey if you wish. However, stay too long in the past, and you cannot fast forward again, for you'll have changed the course of the future.

As this is an adventure game, there are a lot of dead ends, game overs, and other bonuses that await the dedicated (and patient!) explorer. The rewinding clock mechanic lets you try out different strategies without consequences, other than making you have to wait for time to pass again.

What is the goal of this Let's Play? How will you play it?

I'll be gunning for a complete run, showing the game's full story, its endings and game overs, bonus conversations, and alternate paths when it comes down to solving puzzles. I will use in-character subtitles in the videos rather than live commentary, as this game is fully voice-acted and speaks well for itself.

I've started watching your videos and I'm confused. Firebird? Last Express?

If you've watched LordMune's Fahrenheit LP, or his Heavy Rain LP, you may recall he split his playthroughs into two parts: a "good" run, and a "bad" run, to generalize. I'll be doing the same thing. As you watch the videos, occasionally after a fade or dissolve you'll see the words "Firebird" or "Last Express" appear. This alerts you to a split in the path.

The Firebird run will be "correct" for the most part, showing a calm, collected, and dedicated Robert Cath. His in-character subtitles will be in yellow. The Last Express run will be "incorrect", but it's more accurate to say "alternative". It will show a much more unrefined, loose, and carefree Robert Cath. His in-character subtitles will be in red. Also, some game overs will appear due to this Cath's actions.

As for miscellaneous bonus conversations, deaths, and game overs, they will be put in separate videos. The game also has a lot of images and reading material, and you can read them to your heart's content under "Images".

I wish to extend thanks to ivantod for providing translations for Serbian dialogue you'll hear in-game, and to my students and teachers at my workplace for providing translations for the Arabic dialogue. Robert Cath doesn't speak either language, so these are for the viewer's convenience.



















Major Characters


Robert Cath (Green Car, Compartment 1): American doctor, age 29. Barred from medical practice in the U.S. because of his unorthodox methods and interest in ancient and esoteric forms of medicine, Cath has been living quietly in Paris. He and Tyler Whitney have been friends since college, and shared many adventures, but Cath hasn't seen Tyler in several years.
-Accused of the murder of an Irish police officer in Belfast, Cath received a telegram from Tyler asking for his help to inspect "something exceptional" on the Orient Express. He assumes Tyler's identity in order to discover the truth behind his friend's death.
-Has a mysterious past that Kronos knows about. Related to the "thirteenth tribe" and owner of a mysterious signet ring with a family crest.
-Wanted to travel to Jerusalem with Anna Wolff to get guidance on a manuscript, but they were separated in Constantinople when news of the war reached them.


Tyler Whitney (Green Car, Compartment 1): American freedom-fighter, philanthropist, and gunrunner. Tyler and Cath met at Yale, where Tyler--idealistic and wealthy son of Southern landed aristocrats--developed a passionate interest in the Wobblies workers' movement. He eventually left the U.S. and joined the Zapatista revolt in Mexico and Cuba, helping raise funds and run guns and munitions, before lending his support to Serbia in the 1912-13 Balkan Wars.
-Killed in the Orient Express shortly after it departed from Paris. Tyler had many contacts in the Orient Express, and Cath assumes his identity in order to discover why Tyler was killed.
-Tyler had a deal to sell the Firebird to Prince Kronos, in exchange for gold which would go to August Schmidt, who would then supply Miloš Jovanovic and his comrades with weapons.
-According to Miloš, Tyler was always looking over his shoulder in Paris when he had possession of the Firebird.
-Tyler was killed by the Firebird shortly after leaving Paris, as he blew the whistle during the night and in the presence of other music.


Anna Wolff (Red Car, Compartment F): Concert violinist. The daughter of an Austro-Hungarian military commander, she's been touring the concert halls of Europe and the United States, where her brilliant playing and striking appearance have won her great fame--as well as a perfect excuse to travel widely through the most influential levels of European society.
-Recognized the name "Tyler Whitney" and saw through Cath's disguise as Tyler, but agreed to keep quiet about his identity after he cured the Russian count.
-Wanted to hide something, and gave Tatiana said something.
-Her private possessions revealed her to be an Austro-Hungarian spy sent to investigate August Schmidt and his business.
-Protested innocence when accused of killing Tyler, and saved Cath's life when he was assaulted by Vesna.
-Shot Miloš and attempted to stop the train before it reached Belgrade.
-Separated from Cath in Constantinople, as she had to serve her country in the outbreak of war.


Miloš Jovanovic (Red Car, Compartment G): A young Serbian commander. Miloš is a charismatic, self-educated rebel with a good combination of fighting skills, idealism, and practical cunning. Under the banner of General Georgevich, he fought many successful campaigns in the Balkan League's 1912-13 wars against Turkey. Faithful to his friends and fierce in battle, Miloš is a good friend of Tyler Whitney's, and passionately committed to the cause of Serbo-Croatian unity.
-Assaulted Cath, believing he was Tyler's murderer. After the fight, treated Cath like a friend but warned him that nobody must know of Tyler's death or the deal he had in place.
-Explained Tyler's plan to Cath, and claimed Tyler died for the Black Hand's cause.
-Claims none of his men slew Tyler, and that he will avenge Tyler if necessary.
-Went through with the plan to hijack the train before Budapest.
-Felt betrayed by Cath after he rescued Wolff from Vesna. Shot by Anna Wolff.


Prince Kronos (Private Car, The Saturn): A wealthy and mysterious art collector. Prince Kronos's origins are obscure. Believed to have come from North Africa, he has amassed an enormous fortune. He is said to command a private army, and have a fortress in the Pyrenees, but rumors about him contradict each other. When in Europe, he travels in his lavish, eccentrically outfitted private rail car, the Saturn.
-Knows Robert Cath's real identity and troubles with the authorities, but doesn't care. Had a deal with Tyler to exchange something valuable for a "heavy briefcase".
-Believes Anna Wolff has the Firebird, and has tasked Kahina with its retrieval.
-Invited Anna Wolff for a private concert before his arrival in Vienna.
-Left the train in Vienna with his gold, but no Firebird.
-Maimed by the Firebird in Constantinople, and killed in the explosion caused by Tatiana.


August Schmidt (Green Car, Compartment 3): German industrialist. From humble beginnings, August Schmidt has built an empire from metal and arms manufacturing. One of the rising industrialists of the new Germany, he follows political developments very closely, and looks forward to prosperous times. He's also a gourmand and an appreciator of beauty in all its forms.
-He had a deal with Tyler for merchandise to be put on the train at Munich. Asked Cath (who he believes to be Tyler) to see "the gold" in exchange for this cargo, but Cath tells Schmidt they will "talk again after Munich".
-In Munich, he boarded German munitions on the train, but threatened to withdraw them in Vienna if he wasn't shown the gold he was promised.
-A letter in his compartment showed that his sales of weapons to Serbian nationalists, sworn enemies of Austria-Hungary, would be good for Germany despite its alliance to Austria-Hungary.
-After being shown (but not given) the gold by Cath, he decided to stay on the train until Budapest.
-Left behind with the other passengers after receiving the news he was doubly betrayed by Cath and Wolff.

Minor Characters


Alexei Dolnikov (Green Car, Compartment 2): Russian student. The idealistic son of an aristocratic family, Alexei left school in St. Petersburg and went to London, where he became deeply involved in the Anarchist movement. Renouncing his heritage, he dedicated himself to the abolition of the tyrannical system in which he was brought up.
-A staunch Liberal, he lectures Cath on the use of fairy tales when asked to translate the mysterious scroll Tyler had been carrying.
-Seen to be building a timer in his room. A detonator?
-Has a complicated relationship with Tatiana.
-Plans on building a bomb and exploding the train if Tatiana doesn't come with him to Budapest.
-Killed by Vassili Obolensky, he attempted to set off a bomb in the train.


Vassili Alexandrovich Obolensky (Red Car, Compartment A): Russian count. For many years an important advisor of Czar Alexander III, and his son Nicholas II after him. Owner of vast estates in the Ukraine. Old and in failing health, he remains highly religious, an ardent monarchist, and a despotic aristocrat whose one affection is for his granddaughter, Tatiana.
-He knew and respected Alexei Dolnikov's father, but believes Alexei "brought shame upon his family" due to his political leanings. Alexei, in turn, accuses Vassili of torturing and imprisoning many innocents while in his service to the Russian nobility.
-Had a seizure during the night, and was treated by Cath in a most unusual way.
-Allowed Cath to leave with the Firebird.
-In a delirious state, stabbed Alexei after he entered his compartment before Budapest.
-Strangely calm despite the events on the train.
-Killed in Constantinople by the explosion on the Orient Express.


Tatiana Obolenskya (Red Car, Compartment B): Sixteen-year-old granddaughter of the count. She has been at school in Paris and is now returning to Russia, probably to be married off to an appropriate member of the nobility. Fragile and innocent (but an excellent chess player), she still cherishes a childhood love for Alexei Dolnikov, the son of a neighboring aristocratic family outside Odessa.
-She translated the scroll Cath found in Tyler's duffel bag. It's a child's tale about Prince Ivan and a "Firebird".
-Anna Wolff gave her something to hide.
-The Firebird was hidden in her bathroom.
-Refused to leave the train with Alexei at Budapest.
-In shock from witnessing Alexei's death and the hijacking.
-In her traumatic state, decided to set off an explosion in the Orient Express using Alexei's lighter and Schmidt's munitions in order to prevent a war.


Vesna Savin (Red Car, Compartment G): At the age of 12, Vesna saw her family slaughtered by the local Turkish militia. A Croatian, she fled into Serbia and joined a Bosnian irregular fighting unit. Since then, Vesna has lived in the mountains and honed herself into a merciless fighter. Suspicious of all outsiders, she's a humorless, dedicated soldier and a loyal comrade to Miloš.
-Believes Cath killed Tyler, and that Miloš can't see it.
-Attempted to kill Wolff in the baggage car, but was stopped by Cath.
-Shot and killed Mahmoud, the Persian harem guard.
-Killed by Cath on a rooftop duel.


Kahina (Private Car, The Saturn): Proud and taciturn, Kahina is the last of an ancient Matabele tribe of female warriors who were defeated and driven from their Southern African homeland. Kahina owes her life to Kronos, and her loyalty to him is total and unswerving. Her command of English, French, Ndebele, and other languages makes her an ideal secretary, bodyguard, and general factotum to Kronos wherever he travels.
-Easily disturbed by Anna Wolff's dog, Max.
-Threatened Cath to return the gold he stole, or to give the Firebird to Kronos; implied she would kill him otherwise.
-Maimed by the Firebird in Constantinople, and killed in the explosion caused by Tatiana.


George Abbot (Red Car, Compartment C): British commercial agent. A last-minute addition, George Abbot boards the train at Munich, although his name doesn't appear on the passenger list. Abbot is a frequent traveler on the Orient Express as he conducts his business across the continent. Behind his garrulous, overly inquisitive persona is a sharp, capable mind; he has an odd way of knowing a great deal of private and personal information and of being in the right place at the right time.
-Seemed to know a lot about what's going on in the train before he even boarded.
-A motormouth. Terrible company.
-Cath and Abbot found each other snooping around Alexei Dolnikov's compartment.
-In actuality a "Company man", Abbot serves the British intelligence service, the Home Office. Knew about Cath's real identity and his troubles in Ireland, and offered Cath an opportunity to join in exchange for wiping his slate clean.
-Took control of the minitrain after the hijacking was foiled.
-Killed in Constantinople by the explosion on the Orient Express.


François Boutarel (Red Car, Compartment D): Precocious boy of 7. Young François has an interest in scientific experimentation and a special passion for insects, in which his father indulges him. He's no more obedient to his mother than other boys of his age, and makes authoritative comments on everything he sees--comments ignored, of course, by his parents and other adults.
-Claims to have seen Tyler's body rolling down the tracks, but his mother did not believe him.
-Traded a golden scarab whistle with Cath, which actually was part of Tyler's Firebird case.
-Found the golden scarab whistle outside of Tyler's compartment, as the whistle had mechanically crawled out of the compartment after the Firebird was activated as a murder weapon.


Madame Boutarel (Red Car, Compartment D): A practical Frenchwoman, largely and benignly ignored by husband and son. Madame B. maintains a keen sense of the proprieties and disciplines of family life, as well as her own position and ambitions in society.
-Dislikes any inconvenience and things out of the ordinary.
-Scorned for not being invited to the concert, Madame Boutarel ordered Conductor Coudert to escort Wolff's dog, Max, to the baggage car.


Claude Boutarel (Red Car, Compartment C): French geologist and engineer. Monsieur Boutarel is more interested in science and developing technologies than in politics, so he sees no problem in working for the Anglo-Persian oil company at the first oil refinery in Abadan. He encourages the scientific leanings of his son, François.
-Less than pleased to be sharing a compartment with George Abbot.
-Extremely nervous and frightened by the train's hijacking.


Rebecca Norton (Red Car, Compartment E): A young upper-class Englishwoman. Rebecca has escaped from a stifling London environment and is on her first adventure abroad with her dashing friend Sophie. Although naive and inexperienced, Rebecca is observant and intelligent; she keeps a diary and will one day become a famous journalist.
-Easily embarrassed by Sophie's flirtatious comments. She doesn't find Robert Cath "her type".
-Jealous that Sophie invited other "friends" to the island.


Sophie de Bretheuil (Red Car, Compartment E): A young attractive Frenchwoman. Sophie is a provocative, spoiled girl living a privileged and indolent bohemian life. She's indifferent to politics; only personal intrigue interests her. Her intelligence is of the highly practical and social kind; for the moment she's happy to be with Rebecca, but she keeps an eye out for other excitements. Ironically, although Rebecca is destined to become a great writer, it is Sophie who will achieve success first in the 1920s by writing a best-selling gossip book under a pseudonym.
-Seems to find both Robert Cath and Anna Wolff attractive, and coaches Rebecca on paying attention to the "small details" by using descriptive adjectives.
-Cares little for others except for how they make her feel.


Ivo Biskupovic (Red Car, Compartment H): A taciturn Bosnian Serb farm boy turned soldier. Unusually tall and broad, Ivo feels awkward in the confined spaces of the train. Like Vesna, he's fiercely loyal to Milos and a very good fighter...but he's never been in a restaurant before, and would much rather be in the hills than on a luxury train.
-Punched out by Cath.


Salko Popivoda (Red Car, Compartment H): Twenty-year-old Bosnian Serb and Ivo's shadow. During the Balkan Wars, Salko slipped across the border to Montenegro, and from there to Serbia, where he joined an irregular army unit. He and Ivo became friends and have been inseparable ever since. The little bells sewn onto the sleeve of Salko's jacket are his attempt to add a touch of splendor to his apparel, as befits a client of the Orient Express.
-Knocked Cath out with his crowbar, but was killed on a rooftop duel.


Trainmaster Vergès (Baggage Car): In 1876, at age 16, Vergès got his first job washing the exteriors of the train cars. As a pioneer of the railway, he has gradually risen in the ranks to the position of Trainmaster. A lifelong bachelor, Vergès keeps a firm eye on his nephew René, and tries to instill his own sense of responsibility and discipline into this unlikely bottle.
-Lost his master key during the Russian count's seizure.


Conductor Coudert (Red Car): Born in Algeria, Jacques Coudert came to Paris at age 18 to seek his fortune. A longtime employee of the Compagnie Internationale des Wagons-Lits (C.I.W.L.), his face is well-known to regular travelers on the Orient Express. Now just a few months from retirement, he has saved his money and looks forward to returning to Algiers, where he can live like a pasha on his pension.
-A Socialist sympathizer who thinks war can be avoided by uniting the workers of England, France, and Germany.
-Believes Cath stole the master key the Trainmaster lost.


Conductor Mertens (Green Car): This is young René's fifth run on the Paris-Constantinople route. Although he believes he's working hard, he's too lax to make a really top-notch conductor. His job is made more difficult by the ever-watchful eye of his uncle, the Trainmaster, to whom René owes his rapid promotion to this position.
-He has mistaken Robert Cath for Tyler Whitney and spread this error as fact, which helps Cath maintain his cover as Whitney.
-A patriotic Frenchman, René claims France will regain territory annexed to Germany should war break out.
-Believes that war cannot be avoided with a worker's strike.


Max (Red Car, Compartment F): Max (or "Maxl") is a large Siberian husky and companion of Anna Wolff. He is fiercely protective of his mistress, but can be won over if you give him respect and known where to scratch.
-Kept in the baggage car due to Madame Boutarel's complaints.
-Taken by Cath on Wolff's request after news of the war reached them.


Mahmoud Makhta (Green Car, Compartment 4): Persian eunuch. Mahmoud is charged with the safe conduct from Paris to Cairo of a four-woman harem belonging to a certain unnamed personage who anxiously awaits their arrival. The trip has been a tense and frustrating one for Mahmoud, who must reconcile the logistical difficulties of a long European train journey with his employer's strict requirement that the women not show themselves in public.
-Shot by Vesna after the Serbians hijacked the train.


Fatima (Green Car, Compartment 5): At 45, Fatima is the harem's oldest member. Though in a position of authority with respect to the younger women, she has seen enough in her life to take things in stride, and is generally willing to turn a blind eye to Hadija's and Yasmin's hijinks.


Yasmin (Green Car, Compartment 6): Age 20. The most educated of the group, Yasmin keeps the others entertained at night with stories and songs from literature and her own imagination. She is spoiled and, along with Hadija, is a little bit of a troublemaker.


Hadija (Green Car, Compartment 7): Age 19. Rebellious and high-spirited, Hadija is impatient with the tight discipline and boring routine imposed by travel. She's always inciting Yasmin to mischief, and on trips in the past has occasionally skirted disaster. However, on this trip Mahmud's vigilance subdues even her.

Alouan (Green Car, Compartment 8): Age 15. Alouan is the latest addition to the harem. This is her first time in Europe. Yasmin and Hadija tease her because she has brought her baby doll along and sleeps with it at night, but Fatima is protective of Alouan, who is really still a child.


Pascale (Restaurant Car): One of the two waiters in the Orient Express. Henri Pascale has served hundreds of travelers in his career, just as many as his co-waiter Marcel. Pascale has an extensive knowledge of wine, and he always strives to make his customers feel welcome, especially if they are young women.


Jean Jaurès (Red Car, Compartment I): Antiwar French Socialist leader. Many people counted on Jaurès to prevent war at the last minute by calling upon the workers of Europe to oppose it. On the announcement of Austria's ultimatum to Serbia on July 24, Jaurès canceled his planned trip to Vienna, calling instead for an emergency mass antiwar meeting in Brussels on July 29. Two days later, Jaurès was shot dead in Paris by a young French patriot. The following day, Germany and France mobilized for war.


Marshall Radomir Putnik (Green Car, Compartment 9): Serbian General Chief of Staff. On his way home to Belgrade from a relaxing cure in an Austrian spa, Putnik booked a berth on the Orient Express, but took an earlier train instead. Having been out of touch for some days, Putnik was surprised to find himself arrested in Budapest by Austro-Hungarian authorities--who, upon discovering Putnik's identity, and not wishing to deprive their enemy of its commander at the start of the war, apologized and sent him on his way.



Newspaper: July 24


Newspaper: July 25


Firebird Scroll and Translation


The Sick Man of Europe


Wolff's Letter


Schmidt's Letter


Kronos's Dossier


Kronos's Letter


Tyler's Telegram


Robert's Telegram


Rebecca's Diary


Tatiana's Letter


L'Illustration


Trainmaster's Report


Coudert's Art Diary


Schmidt's Pictures




Departure
The Golden Egg
A Woman Travelling Alone
Anna and Cath
Retribution in Vienna
Duel Atop the Train
Nightmare
Pursuit
Tatiana
Kronos Sanctum
Death of Alexei
Goodbye, August
Joyride
A Loyal Friend
Death of Miloš
Stop the Train
The Dream Shattered
Defying Kronos
Anna
A Narrow Escape
Runaway Train
Battle with Salko
The Firebird
War
End Titles

Olive Branch fucked around with this message at May 1, 2014 around 07:03

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gatz
Oct 19, 2012



I'll definitely be following this LP. You've got the perfect style for this game.

A Buttery Pastry
Sep 4, 2011

Delicious and Informative!


Huh, you really don't stick to a particular type of game, do you? Game looks cool though, and I'm a sucker for the period, so I'm very much looking forward to seeing more.

Fat Samurai
Feb 16, 2011

To go quickly is foolish. To go slowly is prudent. Not to go; that is wisdom.


I vaguely remember playing the demo of this game, but then never buying it. I bought it in Steam when it went on sale a couple of days ago, and I'm loving it so far. I'll try to keep ahead of you, and use the LP as a walkthrough.

That said, you're doing a great job so far.

Jesenjin
Nov 12, 2011


Olive Branch, you mentioned in Sandcastle that you could use some help with Serbian dialogues. As native speaker, I could give you a hand with that if there isn't too much of it.

Shine
Feb 26, 2007

No Muscles For The Majority


Holy poo poo, thanks for letting me know you're doing this!

MechanicalTomPetty
Oct 30, 2011

Runnin' down a dream
That never would come to me


Oh man I've heard about this; "sold poorly" dosen't even begin to sum up the clusterfuck surrounding the game's release. Fun fact, Brøderbund's entire marketing department quit just a few weeks before the game shipped. There was pretty much no marketing whatsoever, which did not help the sales to put it mildly...

Mr. Pumroy
May 20, 2001

how i wonder what you are


This game.

This game is it.

Kangra
May 7, 2012



This is one of my favorite games, and I'm very excited to see this LP. I like the approach to the alternate takes, since sometimes the failures are the best part.

Green Intern
Dec 29, 2008

Secret Art: Toxic Crotch Whirlwind!

Looks pretty neat! I've never even heard of this game, so I'm looking forward to puzzling it out with the rest of the thread.

Snugglecakes
Dec 29, 2008



Never got anywhere significant with the game myself, but really enjoyed the style and tone it was set in. Looking forward to seeing it played out

Shine
Feb 26, 2007

No Muscles For The Majority


"Badass" Robert Cath is my new hero I think.

dog nougat
Apr 8, 2009

Cawtion Ham


Awesome! I remember playing the demo of this forever ago, but could never remember what it was called.

tlarn
Mar 1, 2013

"When Jameson delivers my Bitcoin miners, Spider-Man won't be able to stop me!"


This was one of many games on GOG where the story and visual style caught my interest but I wasn't sure if I was going to actually play it. I'm already enjoying it with the first update, will be following along with this!

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012


Well, we'll certainly need to see where this one goes. I wish I remembered more of my Russian; I might be able to make out some of the scroll, maybe.

Mortuus
Nov 8, 2012


I remember playing the demo, but I was about 9 so I had no idea what I was doing. Looking forward to watch someone who actually knows what they're doing, I've always wanted to see this game in action.

Suspicious Dish
Sep 24, 2011



I'm pleasantly surprised at how well the concept of a fast-paced point-and-click adventure game is turning out. This looks really well done.

bradzilla
Oct 15, 2004



Suspicious Dish posted:

I'm pleasantly surprised at how well the concept of a fast-paced point-and-click adventure game is turning out. This looks really well done.

Honestly it looks it would be pretty boring without the OP's narrative. Good work with the subtitling, I'll be following along with this.

Olive Branch
May 26, 2010

There is no wealth like knowledge, no poverty like ignorance.


Jesenjin posted:

Olive Branch, you mentioned in Sandcastle that you could use some help with Serbian dialogues. As native speaker, I could give you a hand with that if there isn't too much of it.
Thanks for the offer, Jesenjin, but ivantod offered his/her help earlier on! If s/he's unavailable, though, I'll hit you up.

That said, if anyone knows how to speak Arabic/Persian (unsure which) or know someone who does, please contact me! There's are a few A/P speakers in-game and Robert Cath can't translate it for us.

MechanicalTomPetty posted:

Oh man I've heard about this; "sold poorly" dosen't even begin to sum up the clusterfuck surrounding the game's release. Fun fact, Brøderbund's entire marketing department quit just a few weeks before the game shipped. There was pretty much no marketing whatsoever, which did not help the sales to put it mildly...
Seriously? I never realized how bad a rap this game got when it came down to its release. I knew it was sort of a cult hit and underplayed, but to have the entire marketing department quit before shipping is something else.

For what it's worth, I only learned of this game by playing Myst back in the mid-90's and going through the CD files, only to find a trailer for The Last Express there. I'll post this trailer (and a making-of!) later on after some more chapters and episodes have been updated.

my dad
Oct 17, 2012

this shall be humorous


Would it be welcome if people posted historical trivia related to the stuff going on in the updates?

Olive Branch
May 26, 2010

There is no wealth like knowledge, no poverty like ignorance.


my dad posted:

Would it be welcome if people posted historical trivia related to the stuff going on in the updates?
Of course! I plan on doing some historical trivia updates myself in either video or text form, but if you or anyone else wants to gush about a topic or give other readers more context for the time period, nations, or machinery involved, feel free!

A Buttery Pastry
Sep 4, 2011

Delicious and Informative!


Olive Branch posted:

That said, if anyone knows how to speak Arabic/Persian (unsure which) or know someone who does, please contact me! There's are a few A/P speakers in-game and Robert Cath can't translate it for us.
I assume it's Persian, given the passenger manifest having a Persian guy on it. I guess the game could throw us a curveball though, perhaps a mummy related one!

Olive Branch posted:

Of course! I plan on doing some historical trivia updates myself in either video or text form, but if you or anyone else wants to gush about a topic or give other readers more context for the time period, nations, or machinery involved, feel free!
You're treading on dangerous territory here.

my dad
Oct 17, 2012

this shall be humorous


A Buttery Pastry posted:

You're treading on dangerous territory here.

Only if Goon Express gets derailed.

balancedbias
May 1, 2009




Oh goodie! I found this game out of pure luck as a kid. My parents gave me a little spending money, and I always wanted adventure games. Hmmmmmm...A mystery-style Broderbund game?

SOLD! I can't wait to tell my frie...

What do you mean you never heard of it? I can't be the only one that has this, right?

RIGHT?



I never finished it. I'm really looking forward to this.

Olive Branch
May 26, 2010

There is no wealth like knowledge, no poverty like ignorance.


Update! The OP has also been updated with a cast list and all images attainable so far, both of which will grow as the game progresses.



Again, I want to put out the call for anyone who speaks (or knows someone who speaks) Arabic to please get in touch with me. The harem in the green car sometimes chats it up, and I want to give you the fullest experience this game has to offer.

Olive Branch fucked around with this message at Mar 31, 2013 around 03:53

biosterous
Feb 23, 2013


I generally really like the art in this game, but those eyes kinda creep me out. It's like they're too detailed or realistic compared to the rest of the face.

Kangra
May 7, 2012



It's all realistic, to an extent. The game was made by filming actors on a train set, and then rotoscoping them with a computer. A fairly trivial process these days, but 20 years ago it took a lot of computing effort. The coloring was done afterward to make it look more like a painting. So you have eyes captured and outlined from the film but most of the face smoothed out.

It does have an unusual look to it, but honestly I think it holds up way better than FMV. I mention this because while the game was generally well-reviewed critically, I remember that the fact that it was not FMV was often considered a flaw.

whitehelm
Apr 20, 2008


Kangra posted:

It's all realistic, to an extent. The game was made by filming actors on a train set, and then rotoscoping them with a computer. A fairly trivial process these days, but 20 years ago it took a lot of computing effort. The coloring was done afterward to make it look more like a painting. So you have eyes captured and outlined from the film but most of the face smoothed out.

It does have an unusual look to it, but honestly I think it holds up way better than FMV. I mention this because while the game was generally well-reviewed critically, I remember that the fact that it was not FMV was often considered a flaw.

The actors were actually filmed on a blue screen, but they did have an actual train they were using as a model for the backgrounds.

Thesaya
May 17, 2011

I am a Plant.


I haven't watched the videos yet, but I have to say thank you so much for LPing this game! It is one of the top reviewed on Adventuregamers.com and me being and avid adventure gamer I have been wanting to play it, but haven't managed to get hold of it. I am so happy that I will finally get to see what it is about.

Edit:
I have watched things, and I must say I am very impressed with the historical and cultural accuracy of this game. I was very pleased when I saw that they had written "Obelensky" and "Obelenskaya" using the correct form of the name for males and females. It is not a major thing, but it makes a difference to me.
I soon realised that it seems to be something to expect from this game. It really is exceptional with it's attention to detail.

Another thing I liked was the newspaper with the current events, especially the article about the murder of Archduke Ferdinand. Nice reminder of how very close to the brink of WWI this game takes place.

Thesaya fucked around with this message at Mar 31, 2013 around 11:55

my dad
Oct 17, 2012

this shall be humorous


The Black Hand? This party is about to get really interesting.

Neurosis
Jun 10, 2003

All right, all right, spare me your life's story.


This was one of my favourite games when I was younger. I'm glad to see more people will get exposure to it, because it's a very intelligently written and had a lot for history buffs.

Neurosis fucked around with this message at Mar 31, 2013 around 10:09

A Buttery Pastry
Sep 4, 2011

Delicious and Informative!


my dad posted:

The Black Hand? This party is about to get really interesting.
Was there really any question that they weren't going to be involved in a murder mystery set on the eve of WWI, in a train that travels through Belgrade? It did make me look up the Orient Express route though, and according to wikipedia the route in-game is actually a mashup of three (out of the five total) different routes, so I guess they had to fiddle with reality to put the Black Hand in?

radintorov
Feb 18, 2011


balancedbias posted:

I never finished it. I'm really looking forward to this.
You are in for a treat: the story is great and I loved the ending.
Thankfully with this LP it means that you won't have to play it again to experience it; unless you want to, of course.

And speaking of, thanks for doing a Let's Play of this, Olive Branch.

ivantod
Mar 27, 2010

Mahalo, fuckers.

Thesaya posted:

I have watched things, and I must say I am very impressed with the historical and cultural accuracy of this game. I was very pleased when I saw that they had written "Obelensky" and "Obelenskaya" using the correct form of the name for males and females. It is not a major thing, but it makes a difference to me.
I soon realised that it seems to be something to expect from this game. It really is exceptional with it's attention to detail.

Another thing I liked was the newspaper with the current events, especially the article about the murder of Archduke Ferdinand. Nice reminder of how very close to the brink of WWI this game takes place.

They also got the native speakers to voice act all roles so that the accents are completely accurate. Even going so far to get the speaker from the right country in cases where a language is spoken in more than one country as an official one--Anna Wolff is Austrian and actually speaks with a Viennese accent!

Thesaya
May 17, 2011

I am a Plant.


ivantod posted:

They also got the native speakers to voice act all roles so that the accents are completely accurate. Even going so far to get the speaker from the right country in cases where a language is spoken in more than one country as an official one--Anna Wolff is Austrian and actually speaks with a Viennese accent!

I think I am in love with this game.

Jabor
Jul 16, 2010

#1 Loser at SpaceChem

So uh ... it looks like Whitney was trying to sell the same thing to three different parties? At least, that's the reading I was getting from those conversations.

Thesaya
May 17, 2011

I am a Plant.


Jabor posted:

So uh ... it looks like Whitney was trying to sell the same thing to three different parties? At least, that's the reading I was getting from those conversations.

I interpret it as he was selling the things from the box to Kronos and then using the money to buy the merchandise Schmidt is selling

Fat Samurai
Feb 16, 2011

To go quickly is foolish. To go slowly is prudent. Not to go; that is wisdom.


A Buttery Pastry posted:

Was there really any question that they weren't going to be involved in a murder mystery set on the eve of WWI, in a train that travels through Belgrade? It did make me look up the Orient Express route though, and according to wikipedia the route in-game is actually a mashup of three (out of the five total) different routes, so I guess they had to fiddle with reality to put the Black Hand in?

According to the passenger list we're going Paris-Munich-Vienna-Budapest-Belgrade-Istanbul (Constantinople). The original route went like that up until Budapest, but then kept running east through Romania. The passengers would arrive at Istanbul via ferry, embarking in Varna, a Bulgarian citynext to the Black Sea.

What follows is speculation, I haven't played the game.

Our friend Tyler had two trades going on, one after Munich (with Schmidt, we offer gold), one before Vienna (Kronos, he offers a heavy suitcase). Occam's razor says that it's better to believe that Tyler had 1 item that got stolen rather than two, so in order to make both trades he'd have to use the item he got from one in the other. The box that was in Tyler's room was the weirdest gold-container case I have ever seen, so it's probably safe to assume that it's contents were going to Kronos rather than Schmidt.

Tyler would get something heavy in return. Let's assume it's gold, which is what Schmidt wanted.

Now, Schmidt would get something embarked in Munich. The way he's speaking about it ("the merchandise will be put in the train at Munich") makes me think whatever Tyler is getting isn't lightweight. It isn't money, either, because Tyler is trading gold for it. A suitcase's worth of gold should be fairly easy to sell without needing meeting on a train in the eve of WWI.

Two other things: Tyler is known for fighting for freedom outside of his country, and he seems to be working with Serbians. Which happens to be in the middle of the First Balkan War against the Ottoman Empire in this time period. They either belong or are related somehow to The Black Hand, a Serbian secret military organization created in the early 20th century to unite all territories with South Slavic population under Serbian rule. Basically, European holdings of the Ottoman Empire.

Knowing all this, Tyler is probably buying weapons to supply his Serbian friends. The first Balkan War was a war of aggression against the Ottoman Empire, so probably the writers will change it to the war of Serbian Independence (early nineteenth century) or the weapons will go towards Slavic rebels in the Ottoman Empire.

As for what Tyler had for trade, it's something Russian, fragile and shaped like an urn? Maybe?

That Austrian lady is suspicious, but I refuse to believe that a violin player has killed our friend.

Finally, that whistle the French kid was blowing looks like it would fit awfully well in one of the two holes in our box.

A Buttery Pastry
Sep 4, 2011

Delicious and Informative!


Fat Samurai posted:

According to the passenger list we're going Paris-Munich-Vienna-Budapest-Belgrade-Istanbul (Constantinople). The original route went like that up until Budapest, but then kept running east through Romania. The passengers would arrive at Istanbul via ferry, embarking in Varna, a Bulgarian citynext to the Black Sea.
Yes, but like I said, it does come out to three routes total. Paris-Budapest is the first, Budapest-Belgrade is another, and finally Belgrade-Constantinople requires a third.

Fat Samurai posted:

Speculation
That sounds about right to me.

Fat Samurai posted:

That Austrian lady is suspicious, but I refuse to believe that a violin player has killed our friend.
Now if she was a cello player...

Fat Samurai posted:

Finally, that whistle the French kid was blowing looks like it would fit awfully well in one of the two holes in our box.
Robert should just have knocked on the cabin door and told the lady her kid took something of his, pretty sure she would have handed it right over. The kid is annoying as gently caress and it's the early 20th century; no way would she begin arguing with him over it.

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Thesaya
May 17, 2011

I am a Plant.


A Buttery Pastry posted:


Robert should just have knocked on the cabin door and told the lady her kid took something of his, pretty sure she would have handed it right over. The kid is annoying as gently caress and it's the early 20th century; no way would she begin arguing with him over it.

That was what I was thinking too. But since we didn't I suspect it wouldn't have worked.

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