Walkthroughs: Black Mirror II
This Guide will help you and Darren Michaels find your way through the game
A Game Guide
by Peter Olafson
Version: This is version 1.0. It’s based on the UK edition of the game played in “Normal” mode.
Contact: Lingering questions? Mistakes? Something unclear? You can write to me at email@example.com.
Copyright: This document is copyright 2010-12 by Peter Olafson. You may not post it, distribute it, edit it, excerpt it (except for "fair use" purposes in news coverage), sell it or publish it in any fashion without my prior written consent. At this time, the only site with permission to post the guide is JustAdventure.com.
The fire in the old wing of Black Mirror castle was a regular reference point in the early chapters of the original The Black Mirror. However, that game was weirdly vague about its source -- we learned only that protagonist Samuel Gordon blamed himself for the death in the blaze of a certain “Cathrin” -- and even about Samuel’s relationship to the dead lady.
This introduction, set in 1969, clarifies those two issues and suggests why Samuel vanished from Black Mirror after the fire. Even 12 years before the events in the original The Black Mirror, when Samuel fell victim to the Gordon curse and killed five people, things were going badly wrong with him. We see Samuel running wildly through the woods in the rain -- as if pursued.
Where has he been and what has he seen? We don’t know. But he is plainly in a state -- inarticulate and aggressive -- when he turns up in the old wing of the castle and, when confronted there by wife Cathrin, we learn his disappearances are a nightly event.
Samuel pushes Cathrin roughly against the table and, in so doing, dislodges the lighted lantern. It falls to the floor and sets fire to the carpet. The room is soon in flames -- and we next see Cathrin apparently trapped and Samuel outside bemoaning what he's done.
The Photo Shop
Twenty-four years later, we find a Darren Michaels in the cellar of a photo shop in Biddeford, Me. The power’s out and Darren’s boss Fuller has ordered his summer assistant to replace a fuse.
Left-click on on the “crammed shelf” to the left of the photo screen to identify a box of fuses, again on the box itself to take it and right-click on the box in inventory to extract the single fuse. Open the fuse box to the left of the shelf, remove the cover of the second fuse from the left, remove the burned-out fuse, drag the new one into its place and throw the little switch at the bottom right to turn on the power again.
Odds & ends: After you’ve restored the power, drag your camera onto the fuse box to take a picture of it.
When used on 31 locations spread across the game, the camera unlocks 26 pictures -- a 27th is unlocked automatically when the game is complete -- and five mini-games in the “Extras” menus. (The six end-of-chapter videos -- five dream sequences and the game’s final cut scene -- are unlocked simply by playing through each of the chapters.)
For instance, this particular shot unlocks picture #23 -- an artist’s rendering of the photo-shop cellar.
- The other item in your inventory -- a postcard of the town of Biddeford -- allows Darren to travel instantly between previously-visited locations in those portions of the game when he is free to move about the town. Usually, this is summoned with a right-click, but you can’t use it just yet -- Darren hasn’t visited any other locations -- and he’s currently locked into performing tasks in and around the store.
- You can have some fun here by taking your sweet time with the fuse. Until you replace it, Fuller will periodically open the cellar door and call down different insulting orders.
- You can take the bottle of developer fluid. It’s on a shelf behind the palette. (Double-click on the palette to tip it over.) You’ll use this later in the chapter to develop some pictures.
- You’ll note that, even after you’ve elicited a full description, the photo backdrop and the ropes at the upper left never lose their interactivity -- a signal you’ll be using them in Chapter II. (This can have other meanings as well. Some such locations change their state or acquire additional interactivity farther along in the story.)
The Front Room
Climb the stairs. Fuller, who appears to be on leave from the Twilight Zone episode “The Masks,” now orders Darren to place the shop’s sign out on the sidewalk. Simply left-click twice on the sign to do so automatically.
Odds & ends: Or don’t. Darren can venture into the darkroom (the near-left exit), the rear office (the middle exit) or return to the cellar. At the first two locations, you’ll have time to grab a couple of items -- in the former, the pen in the mug to the right of the office phone; in the latter, the distilled water at your feet -- before Fuller summons Darren back to the task at hand. (Otherwise, you won’t be able to visit these locations until Darren lures Fuller from the store later in the chapter.)
- On the Lingering Interactivity Front, note that the camera on the tripod to the left of the corner remains red under the cursor even after you elicit a full description. This just means it’s going to change its state later in the chapter.
- Also click on the TV set and talk to Fuller about the store to get a sense of his small-time trade, and click on the spotlight to learn about his high-powered gear. Interesting disparity there. You’ll soon get a hint about the source of Fuller’s money.
Outside the store, you’ll meet Angelina.
Are we sure it’s not still 1969?
Little Miss Swinging London wants her photo taken. Darren automatically ushers her inside, where Fuller automatically takes over the shoot and dispatches Darren on a pair of errands: delivering a letter to Mrs. Biba at the diner and collecting a parcel from the post office.
These new tasks are not inter-dependent and so can be performed in either order. We’ll do the delivery first simply because it gets you into the swing of things a bit faster.
(And while you’re out here, take a picture of the door to the junk shop just up the street. This unlocks picture #2.)
Odds & ends: After the encounters with Fuller and Angelina, you can ask about each of them around town -- Angelina in only a limited way (via Rosie at the post office by the water).
In particular, talk to Eddie, who runs the junk store next door. He can’t stand Fuller and is sure he’s hiding something. (Then again, Eddie also has little tolerance for Darren at this stage of the game.)
From the photo shop, head downscreen to the town square. This scrolling screen is a hub that includes exits to Town Hall (which you can’t enter until Chapter II), a hospital over at the left (which comes into play later in this chapter), an exit to Darren’s mother’s little house (ditto; it’s the street between Town Hall and the hospital) and Biba’s Diner over at the right.
Odds & ends: Named for Bideford ((editor: this is the correct spelling)) in Devon, England, Biddeford, ME is an actual place -- it’s on the Saco River southeast of Portland -- and it appears that at least one real-world location is used as the basis for in-game ones. Here’s Biddeford’s City Hall:
And here is the Town Hall in the game (in rainy Chapter II):
Mrs. Biba (“CLAIRE!” to her husband in the kitchen) is the perpetually-busy and rather bruised-looking lady behind the counter. A man who appears to be wearing mascara (we’ll call him “Mr. Mascara” for the time being) is speaking to her when Darren enters -- lots of folks asking about the photo shop today! -- and bumps by Darren belligerently, perhaps even deliberately, on his way out.
Talk to Mrs. Biba. She takes delivery of Fuller’s letter out of sight of her husband and is righteously pissed off by its (as-yet unknown) contents, for she orders Darren out with a message that Fuller can go to hell. Follow up by asking about “Fuller’s letter,” and you’ll get a hint about the nature of her exchange with Fuller.
Darren protests that he’s just the messenger. “ ... but you still work for him, don’t ya?” Mrs. Biba puts in. “Making some nice dough? Problem is, it’s not his money,” she says, “it’s ... ah, forget it.”
It’s what? Is “mine” the missing word?
Leave. On the way out, Darren is stopped by the doctor in the front booth. He was to meet with Darren’s mother to make arrangements to hang her paintings in the “Health Centre,” but she hasn’t turned up.
Darren doesn’t pay much attention to this and can’t do anything about it now in any case. (Darren isn’t permitted to visit his mother’s house until the automatic visit after he tries to phone her from work.) In the manner of unsettled young people with too much on their plates, he’s suddenly in a great rush and hurriedly tells the doctor he’ll call his mother later.
(Take a picture of the doctor. This unlocks picture #3.)
If Darren has completed both tasks, return to the photo store. If not, head for the post office.
Odds & ends: Biba’s Diner appears to have been modeled on the Johnny Rockets chain of restaurants. (http://www.johnnyrockets.com/index2.php)
- The jukebox at the back cycles randomly through three instrumentals -- running from “In My Room”-era Beach Boys to rockabilly.
Souvenir Store/Post Office
The post office is in the souvenir shop by the harbor just up the street from the photo shop. The counter lady Rosie is running her yap with a girlfriend when Darren arrives. Listen for awhile. (Rosie so wants to be street.) The conversation runs through a range of gossipy topics before establishing that the red convertible outside belongs to the nameless blonde customer.
Darren will have to try to interrupt them (ineffectively) by talking to Rosie to come up with a solution: setting off the alarm on the convertible. However, note that the lady won’t notice the alarm until she’s distracted from her chatter by the open door coincident with Darren’s reentry into the shop -- and that you have just 10 seconds to enter before the alarm clicks off on its own. (If that happens, you’ll have to set off the alarm again.)
Talk to Rosie again. Darren hands over the collection note automatically and comes up with a parcel. (No, you can’t open it, but you’ll establish what is inside in Chapter II.) You’ll also establish that there’s another parcel for Fuller awaiting collection -- but Rosie’s not about to turn it over to a rude boy who doesn’t have the paperwork.
(Strictly speaking, this isn’t on your to-do list at the moment -- it doesn’t become pressing until Darren sets out to develop Angelina’s pictures -- but an observant player can get a leg-up on this task now. During his exchange with Rosie, Darren is standing right in front of a pad of blank collection slips. Looking at them earns you an extra conversation topic -- “Package for Darren” -- and using that topic gets Rosie to turn her back just long enough for Darren to peel off a slip.)
Outside, take a picture of the ocean off the dock. This unlocks picture #22.
If you’ve completed both tasks, return to the photo shop. If not, head for the diner. (See “Biba’s Diner” above.)
Odds & ends: Note that the travel guides in the far right corner of the shop remain red under the cursor even after you’ve elicited the full description. They’re just waiting for Darren to collect one piece of salient information -- the reference to Willow Creek that pops up later in the chapter when he liberates his mother’s bank book. At that time, you’ll be able to peruse the pamphlet. Most of the photos are from the original The Black Mirror -- save one that suggests the decrepit asylum has been converted into a hotel!
- That’s Angelina’s hotel up the coast. Eventually, you’ll reach it by left-clicking on the “Wild Coast Hotel” sign on the dock or the hotel itself (“on the beach”), but Darren can’t visit it until the photos are ready and the photos can’t be prepared until after Fuller clears out of the shop. That’s still a little down the road.
- You can talk to the young woman watching the sea at the railing outside the post office to learn she’s mourning her late friend, Carrie, who drowned herself here two years earlier.
This is not necessary to the story. But it’s the one occasion where Black Mirror II offers even a semi-substantial sub-plot -- albeit only in dialog.
This conversation enables Darren to inspect Carrie’s picture in the window of Fuller’s shop (on the second click, provided you haven’t already elicited the full description) and to ask about her around town -- with Rosie at the post office (after getting rid of her yappy friend), Mrs. Biba at the diner (after delivering Fuller’s envelope), Fuller (after delivering the envelope and handing over the parcel) and the nurse at the hospital (after visiting Darren’s mother).
You’ll assemble a picture of a happy woman full of plans who seemed to suddenly change. (You can discount Rosie’s description of Carrie as “always a little strange.” I think she’s just being loyal to her friend “customer” who married Carrie’s widower.)
Why did Carrie change? Plainly, there is more to the story. Mrs. Biba knows more than she lets on. (She says, “If I’d only known,” but won’t expand.) And Fuller, the only character with a documented link to Carrie, claims not to know her and then gets defensive. (“What’s it to you anyway? Do your work or I’ll kick your ass.”) That seems to be the end of it.
What does it all mean? You don’t find out for certain -- the thread goes nowhere from here -- but we’ll return to it in Chapter II when there appears a clearer context in which to place Carrie’s tale.
And yet, her death notwithstanding, Carrie is in the game. On rare occasions, she appears as an incidental, non-interactive character on the side street outside the shops -- entering shortly after Darren does and walking up the hill from the promenade on the left side of the screen. This has no special significance (i.e. She’s not a ghost.) Black Mirror II gives its ghosts (which begin to appear once you reach England in the second half of the game) special treatment, and most Biddeford locations have such incidental characters. For instance, the older man in the plaid shirt who can sometimes be seen from the promenade occasionally enters this screen at the right near corner. Since Carrie was modeled for the purpose of her conversation-topic picture, the designers probably thought it a waste not to use this resource.
Here’s the conversation topic icon:
And here’s Carrie on the street: