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LONG BLOG

Indigo Prophylactic

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UPDATE: After reading your comments, I've decided I'm being too hard on the game, so I no longer recommend that people not play it. Do prepare to be WTF, though.

Do not play Indigo Prophecy/Fahrenheit. I know it's an old game and that most people who would have played it have already played it, but it's so bad, I think it deserves another warning.

I was looking forward to Quantic Dream's Heavy Rain until I played through Indigo Prophecy.

I'd previously seen my roommate play through the first chapter on his Xbox, and it looked intriguing enough that a couple of years later, I decided to buy it from the Xbox Originals market on my Xbox 360. The initial chapter, after a cutscene of a man murdering another man in a diner bathroom, drops you into the body of the murderer and tasks you with cleaning up and getting away before anyone finds you. It's tense and exciting and original.

I should've taken it as a sign that when I reached the end of that initial chapter, my Xbox red-ringed and died.

My replacement 360 arrived the day that Grand Theft Auto 4 came out (getting it involved chasing the UPS truck around the block, those ring-and-run bastards), so I forgot about Indigo Prophecy until last week, when some coverage of Heavy Rain sparked my interest. And hell, I spent ten bucks on it, so I may as well take care of it.

Incredulity struck during the scene where cops Tyler and Jeffrey play a game of one-on-one basketball to settle a debt. In and of itself, this wouldn't be ridiculous, but the game is named after the fact that the temperature is prominently displayed at the beginning of every scene. The game starts at 15 degrees Fahrenheit, and gets colder. By the time the basketball scene happens, it's 3 degrees. Jeffrey is wearing a basketball jersey and shorts.

There's another scene in Lucas Kane's apartment where he quicktime-fights an unseen force that literally throws every single object in the apartment at him. The couch, all the moving boxes, the washer, everything.

I'm actually thankful that they cut the quicktime sex scene.

The QTEs in this game are pointless. They are only there to nominally engage the player while the cut scene plays out. I understand that Prophecy is an "interactive movie", but there's a difference between being interactive and being perfunctory. You know that job George Jetson has at Spacely Sprockets where he just sits there and pushes a button all day? Yeah. Except in Prophecy, you have to play the first level of Simon dozens of times for each scene. It's just difficult enough that you can't pay attention to the cut scene, but boring enough that you try to pay attention to the cut scene and miss enough stick twiddles to fail the QTE. Rather than involving the user, Indigo Prophecy's QTEs serve to distract the user from how fucking awful it is as a movie.

As for the plot: (these aren't spoilers; these are warnings) Lucas Kane is possessed by an unseen force that uses his body to commit ritual Mayan sacrifices that allow the unseen force--later known as the Oracle--to see into the future. Somehow, Lucas is able to also see into the future in glimpses, at opportune moments and also is able to resist the further machinations of the Oracle. The Oracle himself is a servant of a conspiracy of powerful beings that control the world known as the Orange Clan. The Orange Clan want the Indigo Child (there are morons in real life who believe that their children are Indigos). The Indigo Child is autistic, named Jade, and lives in an orphanage. You learn all this from a figure named Agatha, to whom you are referred by your priest brother, Markus. She appears as an old lady in a wheelchair in a creepy house and she keeps crows as pets. Agatha is murdered by the Oracle before she can tell you what is going with you. In the fourth act, you learn that there is yet another conspiracy called the Purple Clan who are sentient AIs that arose from the internet in the 80s. They have resurrected Agatha's body and are using it to trick you into getting the Indigo Child for them. By the way, you have superpowers.

You also have to lead the investigation against yourself as Carla and Tyler, two cops who are assigned your case. You have to collect and analyze the evidence that you leave behind in order to catch yourself. This is not as stupid as it sounds. Carla is claustrophobic and in the best scene of the game, you have to master her phobia as you play Carla, trying to find a file in the archives. Tyler is a naive, offensive French stereotype of an American black man. He only listens to Motown and has a 70s swinger pad, even though he is the most faithful character in the game. Tyler has to play a fetch quest against a plain offensive French stereotype of a pan-Asian librarian.

Let's see. Back to Lucas: the Oracle tries to kill your brother, but you save him, so he decides to kill your ex girlfriend, Tiffany, instead. He ties her up at the top of a roller coaster in an abandoned amusement park (because what game is complete without an abandoned amusement park?). You fail to save her. She dies. You die, too. Luckily, the Purple Clan resurrect you so you can lead them to the Indigo Child. There is a ten minute quicktime battle scene with the Oracle, in which all the fight scenes from all the Matrix movies are reenacted.

You learn that you have the Chroma, which is some alien life force that gives you and the Oracle their superpowers.

Lucas tells his story to Carla. Instead of shooting him out of frustration and boredom, Carla falls in love with him. The temperature is -56 degrees Fahrenheit. That is cold enough to kill someone in just a few minutes. Carla makes a note that she can't see his breath. That is because Lucas is dead and is the same temperature as his surroundings, meaning ICE COLD.

You are introduced to yet another conspiracy, this time consisting of humans, called the Invisibles who also want the Indigo Child. They consist of homeless people and live in an abandoned subway station (because what game is complete without an abandoned subway station?). Carla makes love to your ICE COLD body in an abandoned subway car.

You and Carla take the Indigo Child to the source of the Chroma, which happens to be an alien artifact housed inside an abandoned military base (because what game is complete without an abandoned military base?). Lucas and Markus used to live on the military base when it wasn't abandoned. You know this because there are several infuriating flashback scenes where you control Lucas as a child and have to stealth your way around soldiers on this base. The base is called "Wishita".

For some reason, the artifact is still there. You battle the Oracle, then you battle the Purple Clan AI. The winner of these battles gets to place the Indigo Child in the Chroma source and learn the secret of the Universe. Jade apparently dies and is thrown away. In my playthrough, the Purple Clan beat me, though I don't know how. There is an epilogue scene in which the world continues to grow colder, you live with Carla and the Invisibles in the abandoned subway station, and fight the machines above ground. Carla's pregnant, and because she was pregnant when she was near the Chroma source, her child is the next Indigo Child.
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About denjunkione of us since 4:03 PM on 08.18.2009

I have started many RPGs in my time, but I have yet to finish a single one.

Games I have started, but not finished, and probably will not finish in a timely manner, despite their goodness:

* Lost Odyssey
* Fallout 3
* Final Fantasy IV (DS)
* Chrono Trigger
* Company of Heroes
* Empire: Total War
* Civilization IV
* Titan Quest
* Research and Development
* Lost Planet: Extreme Condition
* BlazBlue
* Sam & Max Episodes
* Little Big Planet
* So Blonde
* Far Cry 2

Games I have recently finished:

* Uncharted
* Red Faction: Guerilla

Games I probably will finish soonish:

* Uncharted 2: Among Thieves
* Borderlands
* Killzone 2
* Resistance 2
* Critter Crunch


Games I am done with, though I haven't finished them:

* Resistance: Fall of Man
Xbox LIVE:denjunki
PSN ID:denjunki
Steam ID:dennisjk


 

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