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Shamus Plays: Champions Online, Part 7

Shamus Young | 25 Aug 2010 13:00
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I'm in town, minding my own business and getting a big bunch of XP for killing Canadian terrorists, when the woman I'm talking to reveals that she's actually under the control of the cloned brain I've been looking for.

Er. A what? I haven't ... I mean, I think I would remember if I'd been looking for something like that. I've been asked to do some pretty strange and sketchy stuff since getting here, but so far nobody has asked me to find a cloned brain.

Regardless, cloned brain wants to talk to me, and so invites me to come out into the wilderness. Okay then.

Up in the mountains I find ...

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An astral projection. Of a clone. Of a giant brain. I have no idea what the etiquette is in a situation like this, but I guess I can rule out shaking hands.

Giant Brain tells me that he needs my help. I don't know about helping an astral projection of a clone of a giant brain that was just mind-controlling a bystander in base, but he's got a green outline when I mouse over him and it says "hero" under his name so ... I guess he's a good guy?

Luckily, Astral-Cloned-Giant-Brain is eager to prove that he's on my side. As a token of friendship, he clues me in on some super-duper giant-brain level Intel: Soldiers from Steelhead are being executed by the Hunter-Patriots. These executions are happening in the nearby valley.

This is not actually news to me. I mean, the Hunter-Patriots are terrorists. They've been shooting me on sight pretty much since I put an end to the NOT ORDINARY storm. I figured out they were bad news ages ago. I was actually in that same valley earlier when I was beating up those very same guys so I could steal their plans for their maple-powered death ray. And thank you so much for reminding me of that debacle, Astral-Cloned-Giant-Brain.

But ACGB thinks this is a newsflash for a big-jawed tiny-brain like me, and he's using it to try and convince me we're on the same team. He asks me to go save a few Steelhead soldiers for him. Or for me. I'm not sure, really.

So ... you're proving your allegiance by telling me my mortal enemies are bad guys and then as a sign of good faith you ask me to rescue my own allies? Is this like one of those "so bad it's good" deals, where a movie is so awful that you enjoy it? Except in your case it's more like "so smart you drool on yourself and eat shoes"?

Right. Off to the crash site to beat up some Hunter-Patriot guys. Again.

I fly into the valley and look for groups of Hunter-Patriots gathered around Steelhead soldiers. About one dozen or so fights in, I glance up and notice I'm not making any progress on this mission. Checking the map, I see I'm just outside the mission area. So rescuing these Steelhead soldiers doesn't count towards making me believe the brain is on my side.

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Problems? Try PUNCHING!

I move my traveling violence show to the other side of the valley and find punching these guys in the face to be far more convincing of the genuineness of Brain's offer of friendship.

I return to ACGB, who tells me, "Now that I have helped you, I ask you to return the favor." I assume he's talking about the XP he just awarded me, since telling me to go and beat up my own enemies to save my own allies while he does nothing doesn't fall within any definition of help that I understand.

Now the ACGB lays it all out and explains what's really going on:

There is a bad guy called the Overbrain. He apparently clones brains, and then enslaves those brains through mind control. This seems like an insane level of effort with dubious return, but I've been working for Ravenspeaker, so it's not like I have room to criticize the feasibility of what anyone else is doing.

ACGB here is not yet under the sway of the Overbrain, but a new shipment of mind-control gear is on its way and ACGB is sure he won't be able to hold out if the Overbrain gets his hands on it. ACGB has confused the driver, making the delivery, and the new gear has been left down in the valley. I need to go blow it up.

So I need to go around, beat up some more Hunter-Patriot guys, and steal their explosives. Then use those explosives to explode the mind control gear.

It turns out the gear is in a simple crate and guarded by a couple of befuddled drivers.

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Few people are familiar with the second Poincaré conjecture, which asks: "Would it be possible to make a videogame which contains no crates?" Many people believe it is possible, but it has yet to be proven.

Even fewer people spell "Alberta" with a lowercase "a."

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