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DKII
Oct 20, 2010





Zero Time Dilemma

The Zero Escape trilogy has a bit of an odd history. The first game, 9 Hours, 9 Persons, 9 Doors (999) was released in 2009 and intended to stand alone, but got enough critical acclaim that a sequel was announced a couple years later. That game, Virtue's Last Reward (VLR), released in 2012 and turned the original game into the opener of a trilogy. While it also received high reviews, VLR sold so poorly in Japan that the third game was put on hold for awhile. As the plot for VLR leaves a pretty big hook for the third game, the fanbase was rather disappointed and managed to raise enough of an uproar that Zero Time Dilemma (ZTD), the conclusion to the trilogy, resumed development in 2015 and was released a year later.

CAUTION

As ZTD is the third game in the trilogy, there will be spoilers for 999 and VLR in this LP. I'll go over what you need to know for this LP, but as these are essentially mystery games, you're doing yourself a dis-service is you don't experience them for yourself. There's a bundle for both games on Steam, or you can read the fantastic LPs that introduced me to the trilogy:

You've been warned!

Like the first two games in the series, Zero Time Dilemma was developed by Spike Chunsoft (only this time via the Chime studio) and directed by Kotaro Uchikoshi. Technically the first two games were developed by Chunsoft before the merger with Spike, but that's business for you. The game is a mix of visual novel-style cutscenes and escape room puzzles, but the plot gets pretty out there.

Unlike the first two games in the series, Zero Time Dilemma has animated cutscenes instead of talking portraits. The animations...aren't great, so I won't be showing most of them off. The voice acting is a bit better, but not enough for me to try and make videos of solving puzzles seem interesting. This LP will be screenshot format. Yes, I know there's a lot of dialogue. Wish me luck.

Ground-rules for the LP:
  1. Absolutely NO spoilers for this game, even in tags. No hints or fake speculation, either. The plot for the previous games, you're free to talk about, even outside spoiler tags. I warned everyone for a reason!
  2. The plot has some branches to it, so I'll be leaving every decision I can up to the audience. Be gentle.
  3. The puzzle rooms have a lot of flavor text to them. I'll show off as much as I can but if I miss something feel free to point it out after the room is complete.

Post titles may contain mild spoilers! If you're just starting out, dive right into the first part without looking too closely at the list.

Table of Contents:

DKII fucked around with this message at 20:20 on Aug 3, 2020

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DKII
Oct 20, 2010



Soundtrack:

Full Playlist
  1. Pantry
  2. Infirmary
  3. Quondam Monitors (Monty Hall) (Monitor 2nd Mix)
  4. Power Room
  5. Rec Room (Lounge 2nd Mix)
  6. Unliberated Library (Pantry 2nd Mix)
  7. Pod Room
  8. Biolab (Annihilation 2nd Mix)
  9. Locker Room
  10. Trash Disposal Room
  11. Transporter Room
  12. Manufacturing Room (Gaulem 2nd Mix)
  13. Healing Room (Treatment 2nd Mix)
  14. Moral Dilemma (Annihilation 3rd Mix)
  15. Initiation (Preamble)
  16. Tough Decision (Make Your Choice)
  17. Ambidexterity 2nd Mix
  18. Extreme Extrication 2nd Mix
  19. CQD Ward BGM 1
  20. Placidity 2nd Mix
  21. Trepidation 2nd Mix
  22. Consternation 2nd Mix
  23. CQD Ward BGM 2
  24. Bereavement
  25. CQD: BAD END
  26. Dcom (The Beginning)
  27. Portentousness 2nd Mix
  28. Sinisterness Phase 1
  29. Sinisterness Phase 2
  30. Clarification 2nd Mix
  31. Divulgation 2nd Mix
  32. Anxiousness 2nd Mix
  33. Strain 2nd Mix
  34. Sacrificial Demise (Demise 2nd Mix)
  35. Ustulate Pathos
  36. Reminiscence
  37. Blue Bird Lamentation 2nd Mix
  38. Interminable Dilemma (Credits)
  39. Interminable Dilemma (Payoff)
  40. Nostalgic Scenery
  41. Mischievousness (Consternation Remix)
  42. Sinisterness Phase 3
  43. Riddle and Puzzle 2nd Mix
  44. Confession 2nd Mix
  45. Morphogenetic Sorrow (Mix 3)
  46. CQD Ward BGM 3
  47. Aftermath (Decontamination Room)
  48. Zero (Unary Game Remix)
  49. Quantum Computer Dome (Q)
  50. Solitary Snail
  51. Extreme Urgency (What Will You Decide?)
  52. Transient Tranquility
  53. Glacial Solitude
  54. Title Screen
  55. Blue Bird (Music Box)
  56. Ustulate Pathos (VINTAGE Ver.)
  57. Zero Times



Fanart:

Some mild spoilers here. Scroll down to see.
























by Bruceski


by wologar


by Tonfa

DKII fucked around with this message at 00:55 on Jul 21, 2020

DKII
Oct 20, 2010



Part 1: Coincide

Music: Title Screen



Welcome to Zero Time Dilemma. Let's see what this game is all about.



Music: Dcom (The Beginning)



We kick things off out in the desert. If you have any familiarity at all with VLR, you'll probably be expecting this game to take place during a certain often-referenced event in between the first two games. And you'd be right. Kind of.



No, I'm not going to show an image for every line of dialogue. We'd be here for years. But I'll show more in the first couple updates, at least.



This guy's the one who was speaking. We don't really know who he is yet, but we do get some confirmation on the current date. Assuming the game isn't lying to us. Not shown: Mystery man blinking while the camera slowly rotates. You're really not missing much with these animations.



Behind mystery man #1 is a returning character, though you may not recognize her new model. Also pictured: a mystery device on mystery man's wrist.



Cut to another returning character here. I'll attach names to everyone's faces soon, I promise. But the opening scene is really meant to convey confusion, to prepare the player for the rest of the game.



I agree, mystery voice #2.



The previous line was from the dude pictured here. The lady in the background with the questionable outfit spoke the current line.

A mistake?

Maybe Diana's...?

Oh hey, we got a name. Diana doesn't sound familiar though.



Presumably, Diana. Another new character.



Serious man shakes his head seriously, but says nothing. Another returning character.



The last returning character, and probably the most recognizable one.

If you're paying attention, that makes nine characters. Nine is a magical number for this series.



I don't want it near me! Where the hell did this thing come from...

I can tell I'm going to like this guy already.



Another slow camera movement, showing our characters divided up into three cells. The jankiness is me trying to get the size down, not the game.



I may pick on the animations but I do love the expressions and poses they put the characters in for each scene.

Impossible.



Serious guy is still serious.

The bars only open from the other side...



Worth a shot?



That kid locked us up!



Cut to shot of said kid. I mean, that helmet is pretty suspicious.



Mystery Man #1 demonstrates struggling to take off the bracelet. The game quickly flashes through showing the same bracelet on the other characters. I'll spare you the additional images.

I...



Helmet-head produces a convincing denial.



Is that surprising?

Cue a fade to black, and a new spooky track:

Music: Anxiousness 2nd Mix



Enter the villain!



Silent reaction shots from everyone.



The villain's voice is deep and disguised.



There are moments when a single snail can make a world go extinct.

That's a somewhat dark spin on the butterfly effect, but okay.



Yup, that's what he said.



I took the frame with the guy's mouth open so you would know who was speaking.

Who are you...

The lady in the background said that line in the same shot.





I require all of you to take part in a game.



Yup, that's what he said.



Well, not much then.

The villain appears to be wearing and old-style plague mask. That's not an accident.



Okay, this guy I like. Forget that other guy.

Let's get started, shall we.



A coin has two sides.



Flip!



Blue?



Or red?



Or blue?



One side of it is red, while the other side is blue.

Music: Trepidation 2nd Mix



No really, the first part of the game is guessing a coin flip.

However. You only get one chance.



Ah, good question.

Your freedom.







Also a good question.

You all lose.



Oh.

Everyone has a lot of opinions now:







Right! Red! It's gotta be red!



The odds for each are the same...



Wait!



Akane's right!

Oh hey, there's a name to go with the maybe-familiar face, now. More on that later.





I think listening to the villain is probably a bad idea.

You are the leader of this group.



Pictured: Carlos. Mystery man #1 revealed!



We get another round of chiming in from the crowd:













Carlos is understandably a bit flustered here. Let's get more people yelling at him.







You are that solitary snail. The fate of the world rests on your decision.

In the end, though, it's really up to us.



You can hear a heart thumping, signaling a decision is needed here.



The screen turns to a photo-negative, and the "Time To Decide" graphic appears! You'll see this one a lot.

Music: Tough Decision (Make Your Choice)



Anyway, it really is that simple. Red or blue?

DKII fucked around with this message at 00:10 on May 24, 2020

Omobono
Feb 19, 2013

That's it! No more hiding in tomato crates! It's time to show that idiota Germany how a real nation fights!

For pasta~! CHARGE!


DKII posted:

Music: Tough Decision (Make Your Choice)



Anyway, it really is that simple. Red or blue?

Neither!
Why is neither an option?

Because this coin* is so loving rigged one way or the other that I'd like having at the option of calling the villain on it before going on with the game.

*or rather the whole shebang


Glad Delta and Phi are back here, not so glad Akane is back here, and let's see what loving bullshit that the authors think is oh so clever but falls apart if you think about it for 5 milliseconds will be.
I'm not talking about all the quantum bullshit this series has, that's the central conceit and so it gets an automatic pass.

Yes, I'm still calling bullshit about where Virtue's Last Reward was located. Radical-6 CANNOT explain it away.


E: I'll enjoy the writing and the insanity, but there's no way the narrative will play fair with the reader.

Ibblebibble
Nov 12, 2013



Oh boy, can't wait to see the reactions of those who haven't played this yet.

daermon
Sep 17, 2017


I'm onboard. Hopefully this LP will go places. I played VLR but bounced off 999 on the 3DS and never picked this up. I'm curious to see where this goes.

mateo360
Mar 20, 2012

TOO MANY PEOPLE MERLOCK!
ONLY ONE DIJON!


Omobono posted:

Glad Delta and Phi are back here,

Whose Delta? I think you mean Sigma.

Omobono
Feb 19, 2013

That's it! No more hiding in tomato crates! It's time to show that idiota Germany how a real nation fights!

For pasta~! CHARGE!


mateo360 posted:

Whose Delta? I think you mean Sigma.

I think I do, yeah.
Greek letters, they kinda blend together after some years.

AweStriker
Oct 6, 2014



Ibblebibble posted:

Oh boy, can't wait to see the reactions of those who haven't played this yet.

Same hat. People experiencing this for the first time is always good.

MagusofStars
Mar 31, 2012




Oh hell yes. I've never played any of the games because I feel like I'd hate the puzzle sections, but drat were the LP's top-tier and wild. Looking forward to seeing how off the rails this goes.

Jadecore
Mar 10, 2018

They say money can't buy happiness, but it sure does help.

Zero Time Dilemma is a very... special game. It's definitely not the series' best. It has missteps. The animation work is comically nothing. But it's just all the time.

I look forward to enjoying the blind posting.

Junpei
Oct 4, 2015

REAL TOP DOG SHIT
We Have Unlocked Woke Junpei Mode
Fuck Up Cops 2020
Beloved Forums Poster
Evolved Heightened Level Junpei
Junpei Is Not Ironic And That Is Why He Is Good

Same. Watch people freak out over crazy twists is the best part of games like these.

Bifauxnen
Aug 11, 2010

Resurrected
Living in a lighthouse
The lions and the lambs ain't sleeping yet


I always liked this game's visual style, actually. But that's probably because it seems like such a relief after VLR's super colourful and cartoony stuff (like Pebbles Flintstone) looked so out of place.

sirtommygunn
Mar 7, 2013

Revelry in the Dark




This game is lovely and the story makes no sense, but it wraps around to being incredibly entertaining with how the melodrama contrasts with the "animation".

daermon
Sep 17, 2017


Forgot to say red.

Ibblebibble
Nov 12, 2013



I honestly don't remember what any of the choices actually do specifically since it's been so long since I played it, so I'll vote blue.

MarquiseMindfang
Jan 6, 2013


I'm just glad this got made.

Rabbi Raccoon
Mar 31, 2009

I stabbed you dude!

I'm gonna assume the choice doesn't matter because getting the good ending 30 seconds after starting a new game would probably have led to mass refunds so...Blue because blue is the best color

Arcvasti
Jun 12, 2019

Never trust a bird.

Blue

Leraika
Jun 14, 2015

slime time



Fun Shoe

oh poo poo, someone's going to lp this!

Good luck.

Blue

DKII
Oct 20, 2010



Omobono posted:

Neither!
Why is neither an option?

Because this coin* is so loving rigged one way or the other that I'd like having at the option of calling the villain on it before going on with the game.

*or rather the whole shebang


Glad Delta and Phi are back here, not so glad Akane is back here, and let's see what loving bullshit that the authors think is oh so clever but falls apart if you think about it for 5 milliseconds will be.
I'm not talking about all the quantum bullshit this series has, that's the central conceit and so it gets an automatic pass.

Yes, I'm still calling bullshit about where Virtue's Last Reward was located. Radical-6 CANNOT explain it away.


E: I'll enjoy the writing and the insanity, but there's no way the narrative will play fair with the reader.

Looking forward to the big reveal on this one then.

Sometimes neither is an option! But in this case I let it sit there about a half hour while messing around with the recorded video and nothing happened.

I should point out that the votes are being counted in the linked poll. Go vote there! I'll be closing it soon.

Fedule
Mar 27, 2010


No one left uncured.
I got you.


I feel like I daren't say anything except to note the glee with which I will be following this thread.

DKII
Oct 20, 2010





Blue it is. I did red during my test run so I'm sure this will be entirely different!

DKII
Oct 20, 2010



Part 2: Payoff

Previously, on Zero Time Dilemma...



A psycho in a plague mask has apparently taken a group of unknown people captive. He'll let them go, if we can guess a coin flip correctly....

There's a fast-forward icon on the lower-right because we can skip scenes that we've already seen. That'll probably come in handy later.





I have a good feeling about blue! You guys wouldn't steer me wrong, right?



You'll see this graphic a lot, too. Choices have consequences here.

Music: Divulgation 2nd Mix



Well, at least he sounds confident. Let's see.



It's blue!



Group reaction shot this time! I would've expected more smiles.





If you had picked red and were correct, the last two lines of dialogue would change to:

quote:

See? Didn't I say it'd be red?

Yeah yeah. Whatever.

Nothing else in the rest of this update changes. Back to reality!





Ok, settle down, it was just calling a coin toss. Happens roughly half the time I think.

It was just luck.



It's not too hard to get it right.

See, Carlos is with me.

Hey, hold on a sec!



Who cares, we got it right, let's get outta here.



Everything worked out fine.



Fear not.



I promised to release you, and I shall.

Well that was a weird way to start the game. I wonder what happens when we get out?



Sure, standard kidnapping tactic. Don't want us figuring out where you were holding us.



Please stop just repeating what he says with a question mark at the end.



A memory wipe, too? Oh wait now I"m doing it.



Back on team this-guy, that's what I should have asked.

Hmm, I wonder...?



No point in him answering us if we're just going to forget, I guess.



The camera points at the ceiling while the game plays the sound of bodies hitting the floor.



And then shows said bodies on the floor. Because falling animations are expensive, you know.





Well, everyone's out.



You're...

Almost everyone.



Another body drops. Carlos was already mostly on the ground so not sure it would've made that big a sound, but whatever. Having different sound effects is expensive, too, I guess.



Carlos is down, and we get a fade to static before an abrupt change to a black screen. Another common transition between game scenes.



Music: Transient Tranquility



Another shot of Dcom. But this time you can see a tiny crowd of people at the bottom.



It's 12:05 on the same day. Time is probably important in this game.



I have no clue.







Didn't we all have something attached to our left wrists...?



Guess the memory wipe wasn't 100% effective. In fact...



Huh?







Carlos seems to have a flash of memory himself. But not enough.















Akane just shakes her head.



This all making sense to anyone yet?

Hey, uh, could I ask all of you something?





And now we get to spend the rest of the game trying to figure out what just happened.

Music: Interminable Dilemma



Just kidding. Fade to black, and then the credits roll. No seriously, we just won the game.



Five minutes later...



We've reached ending CQD-END:1. Otherwise known as the Sun End. We've won the game, though we haven't really beaten it.



Hitting the back button brings us to a save screen. Why not? Maybe we'll get a New Game Plus option.



Saving reveals the sun icon on our save file. Careful counters will notice the possibility of six other endings. Let's hit the back button again.



Unlike 999 and VLR, where you follow around a single protagonist and mingle with the different characters throughout the game, ZTD separates the characters into three teams, which you play as one at a time.



There are three teams shown, corresponding to the three cells we saw in the last update. C Team, led by Carlos. Q Team, led by...Q? And D Team, led by Diana.



Each team has a number of fragments that can be played, in any order (once they're unlocked).



The only one currently unlocked for each team is the same coin flip one we just played.





The same fragment is in a different location for each team. Just to add to the confusion.



Selecting a fragment shows a mini flowchart of the major points in it. You can jump in to replay at any point that's lit up. Currently highlighted, the scales show where a decision was made. The sun icon returns on the lower right, representing the ending we unlocked. The question marks on the left side show a path not yet taken.



Like in VLR, you can see a global flowchart of how all the scenes fit together. Also like VLR, looking at this flowchart is a good way to spoil yourself once more stuff is unlocked. So I probably won't be showing it much, at least at first.



A more detailed version of the flowchart show's each fragment's flowchart connected together, including ones we haven't seen yet. Lots more decisions in our future.



With nothing else available, we go back to the coin flip decision.



The same scene plays out, and we are once again faced with a decison. Red or blue?

Ibblebibble
Nov 12, 2013



Nice LP, great job everyone.

Bifauxnen
Aug 11, 2010

Resurrected
Living in a lighthouse
The lions and the lambs ain't sleeping yet


Awesome, with the power of the morphegenetic field we know it's blue already, we can just keep picking it and nothing bad will happen ever!

Omobono
Feb 19, 2013

That's it! No more hiding in tomato crates! It's time to show that idiota Germany how a real nation fights!

For pasta~! CHARGE!


[zalgo]It begins[/zalgo]
(Never implement Zalgo please it's fun to reference but it's horrid to look at)

Did the game just rig the coin so in the future it will be able to gloat in our face (as in, we actual players) that we had a good end already but no, we had to keep playing?


Don't answer the second part of that question obviously.

Fumbles
Mar 21, 2013

Can I get a reroll?



Maybe don't tell us if there's some sort of meta-twist about "playing a game" with peoples lives but I am curious if that coin flip is actually 50/50 or if the game rigs it so you win every time.

Bruceski
Aug 21, 2007

The tools of a hero mean nothing without a solid core.


I laughed so hard when the game actually let me win instead of a rigged fail. It's a good meta-troll on people who've played the other games, where you don't even get to THINK about escaping until at least ten hours, three metaphysics lectures and two bizarre plot revelations have happened.

placid saviour
Apr 6, 2009


I forget, are these the Sigma and Phi that have memories of VLR? And what about Akane?

It's been so long since I've played 999 and VLR. I barely remember anything.

SMaster777
Dec 17, 2013

I wish this was my Smash main.


Ah, ZTD. Godspeed, dear player.

OddHaberdasher
Jan 21, 2016


placid saviour posted:

I forget, are these the Sigma and Phi that have memories of VLR? And what about Akane?

It's been so long since I've played 999 and VLR. I barely remember anything.

The Phi here is the Phi from VLR, with memories of all the events of VLR.

The Akane here is not the Akane from VLR, she doesn't have the same power as Phi and Sigma.

Sigma is NOT the Sigma of VLR (not exactly). Sigma goes through a convoluted time loop where his young self is sent into his older body, goes through the events of VLR, is then sent back to just after Radical-6 is released and helps Akane set up the events of VLR over the next 40(? I think?) years, only to then swap places with his pre-VLR self. This is not the Sigma we knew. This is Doctor Klim. This is Zero Senior.

MagusofStars
Mar 31, 2012




Bifauxnen posted:

Awesome, with the power of the morphegenetic field we know it's blue already, we can just keep picking it and nothing bad will happen ever!
I voted blue specifically to check if this is still a mechanic in the game.

whitehelm
Apr 20, 2008


OddHaberdasher posted:

The Phi here is the Phi from VLR, with memories of all the events of VLR.

The Akane here is not the Akane from VLR, she doesn't have the same power as Phi and Sigma.

Sigma is NOT the Sigma of VLR (not exactly). Sigma goes through a convoluted time loop where his young self is sent into his older body, goes through the events of VLR, is then sent back to just after Radical-6 is released and helps Akane set up the events of VLR over the next 40(? I think?) years, only to then swap places with his pre-VLR self. This is not the Sigma we knew. This is Doctor Klim. This is Zero Senior.

Technically Phi went through the same time loop as Sigma, but she was in cryogenic sleep the whole time so she doesn't have any extra memories.

DKII
Oct 20, 2010



Poll shows the vote is currently a tie so I'll leave it open until I get home from work. New update should be posted tonight. Prepare for

DKII
Oct 20, 2010





And blue wins by a hair. Wait, didn't we do blue last time?

OddHaberdasher
Jan 21, 2016


Life is simply unfair, don't you think?

There are moments where a single vote can make a thread come to a standstill.

Super Jay Mann
Nov 6, 2008



Oh boy this game is gonna be quite the roller coaster I wager.

Two updates should be a record for shortest amount of time to reach anthe ending, maybe?

Rabbi Raccoon
Mar 31, 2009

I stabbed you dude!

What if we kept voting for the winning side and the LP never finishes?

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Oblivion4568238
Oct 10, 2012

The Inquisition.
What a show.
The Inquisition.
Here. We. Go.

College Slice

DKII posted:

Please stop just repeating what he says with a question mark at the end.

Hrngh, question marks?

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