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Art of Murder: Cards of Destiny

Art of Murder: Cards of Destiny

Art of Murder: Cards of Destiny

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Art of Murder: Cards of Destiny

A Game Guide
by Peter Olafson

Version: This is version 1.0. It’s based on the US edition of the game.

Contact: Lingering questions? Mistakes? Something unclear? You can write to me at peternolafson @

Copyright: This document is copyright 2010-11 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 walkthrough is

October 19

Nicole’s Apartment

FBI agent Nicole Bonnet is home on stay-cation when she takes delivery of a parcel. No sooner has the delivery cut-scene ended — the parcel deposited on the desk to the right of the TV — than the phone rings. It’s a rather zombie-like Ruth from the office alerting Nicole that an attempt was made to deliver to the office as well and that she should approach any box with caution.

In other words, no just tearing the wrapper off as though it was Christmas morning. You’ll have to use the letter opener (out in the hall, on the table beside the roses) or the nail file (on the bed upstairs). Pick the box up first and then, in inventory, drag the box-opener of choice onto it.

Within, a plain gray metal box and a page from a NY News profile of Nicole, with the words “Nicole Bonnet” and “serial killer” circled in red.

Odds & ends: You’ll keep the wrapping paper. You don’t have to look at it to complete this sequence, but, if you do, you’ll find on the inside a rectangle within a rectangle, followed by an exclamation point. Not the last time today that you’ll see this emblem.

Naturally, the box is locked. Right-click on the lock to learn the key is not included. Nicole suggests a lockpick. But the nail file from the bed will do as well.

Inside, you’ll find two odd items. (You’ll have to rotate the box first to see them clearly.) Click on them for two quick shots of a passing train. Nicole concludes that a dramatic event must be connected with the items. (Has Nicole suddenly sprouted psychic powers?)

The items themselves are of the most mundane sort: a rusty bolt and an oblong bulb. When you pick up each item, Nicole observes that there’s  writing on each. You won’t be able to make it out without a little help.

Happily, a little help is nearby. A magnifying glass can be found upstairs atop the dresser catty-corner to the bed. Use this on the base of the bulb to find a stenciled “CXDET 110.”

You’ll need a little more help with the bolt. Rust has obscured the type and you’ll need to remove it to make out all the letters. And, no, Nicole does not keep rust remover around. But there is that little box of “Alkazetzer” on the bed — Alka-Seltzer ™ apparently has rust-removing properties — and a glass of water on the left side of the counter separating the kitchen from the living room.

Left-click on the package to liberate two tablets. Drop ‘em in the glass, followed by the bolt. The water turns rust-colored almost instantly. Left-click on the glass to get back the rust-free bolt and inspect the inscription under the magnifying glass again to reveal “ABF B412.” Once you’ve examined both under the magnifying glass, Nicole suggests an FBI technician named Wang might be able to help.

Get over to the desk and pick the phone in the upper left corner. Nicole automatically calls the tech. When Wang completes his oddly unenthusiastic come-ons, Nicole provides such details as she has on bulb and bolt … and gives you a little task to fill the time. She needs note paper and a felt-tip pen to jot down the information she expects to receive back from Wang.

The paper part is easy. There’s a pad of green post-its on the desk next to Nicole’s diary. And the  pen’s just across the room — on the right side of the drafting table to the right of the door to the front hall.

Wait a few seconds and Wang rings back. He reports the bolt was produced by a firm that laid railroad tracks in New York before World War II. He’ll steer Nicole to locations in Bronx, Brooklyn and Queens.

The bulb is more modern — designed for a movie projector manufactured in the 1960s and formerly used in theaters in Manhattan, Queens and Staten Island. (So the two items have Queens in common.)

When the calls ends, you’ll find each of the locations on its own post-it and Nicole now looking for a New York City map. The map’s in a drawer … and the drawer’s not in a desk or a dresser but a chair  — the left side of the chair at the desk. When you open the drawer, you’ll get the map automatically. You can’t open it on this cluttered surface, but try the largely empty table where you earlier found the felt-tipped pen. (Actually, you can find and open the map at any stage in the apartment segment.)

Now you just have to drag each of the addresses you collected from Wang to the appropriate borough. This shouldn’t be an issue even if you’re unfamiliar with the Big Apple. Four of the five boroughs are plainly labeled and though Staten Island isn’t, it can be readily identified from the “Staten Island Expy” marked on the map. It’s just southwest of Brooklyn across the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge.

When all six notes are in place, Nicole sees that the rail-line address and theater address in Queens are adjacent to each other on Blake Avenue. The sender seems to be pointing Nicole here. Leave the apartment to send Nicole to Queens.

Extra task: You can perform an unadvertised household chore: Feed Hoover, Nicole’s gray alleycat. The food is on the lower portion of the drill out in the hall and the dish upstairs to the right of the bed.

Gentle Bob Bar

You’re not getting into the theater through the front or right side doors. They’re locked up tight. Maybe via the bar to the left? Enter the ladies restroom at the right rear, zoom in on the dirty window in the right wall and click on the latch halfway up the right side. The window opens onto the theater’s rear yard — but it’s barred, with a rusty padlock semi-visible at the right.

Is there a key? Yes. Can you get it without going through some roundabout routine? No. You have to wait out the other patrons to talk freely with the particular patron you want and collect everything you’ll need, and that’ll take a while.

Return to the bar proper and talk to the bartender. Nicole orders a drink and then fends off the advances of a yappy journalist waiting for a blind date. When the woman talking to him excuses herself, follow her to the restroom and talk to her.
She’ll return to the bar. When you return you’ll find the journalist and the two bikers at the front left table have made themselves scarce.

This is important for two reasons. 1) Patti is now less distracted and can talk to Nicole freely. 2) Nicole can now poke around in two new locations on previously-explored screens: the bikers’ table (where you can  take an empty oil bottle) and the now-empty space at the curb outside (a screwdriver).

Chat with Patti again. It seems she’s waiting for a train — the platform’s across the side street to the right of the theater — and has lost the batteries for her MP3 player.

You have to run out and find them. Stands to reason they’re between the bar and the station platform to the right of the theater. (You may even have found them already.) If not, leave the bar and head right to the closeup view of the theater entrance. In the lower left corner, you’ll find the package just right of a short curved pipe at sidewalk level. Return to Patti and talk about “batteries” to turn these over and Nicole’s in this lady’s good graces.

The talk turns from the uselessness of men like the journalist to Patti’s job. She works part-time as a caregiver for an older man who once worked as projectionist at the theater next door. She’ll tell Nicole a story about this gentleman, a key found in the theater’s backyard, a bet the man made about getting into the bar to steal whiskey and a hiding-place in the bar’s footrest.

Have a look at the footrest, pull off the cap at the near end and feel around inside. There’s something there, all right, but Nicole will need a tool of some sort to extract it.

And there’s a tool right here. Back out of the closeup, look at the corner of the bar and take the fork. That gives you the means to reach into the footrest, but not to pull out whatever’s in there. However, something sticky appended to the fork would work and, indeed, there’s something sticky on the underside of the bar just to the right of Patti. Nicole won’t touch it with her bare hands so spear the wad of gum here with the fork and then use the fork + gum on the hole at the end of the footrest to produce a small key. Left-click on the fork to separate out the key. (The fork can be claimed at any time and the gum after the journalist has given up, but the footrest cap won’t come off until you’ve heard about it from Patti.)

You may already have guessed that the key won’t immediately turn in the padlock, but you have to try anyway to set up the remedy: lubricating the lock. As mentioned, an empty oil bottle can be found on the left side of the bikers’ table. The bartender can supply a refill. Ask him about “bar” and “oil,” then pour oil on the key, use the oiled key on the padlock and push the grate open.

Oh, one more thing: Before you leave the restroom, take the paper towels over by the sink and the cleaning fluid below the window. No, you don’t need either just yet, but you will shortly, and they’ll become harder to acquire once you’re inside the theater.

Goofs: Initially, three motorcycles are parked outside the bar, but just two bikers are parked at the table at the left front. Where’s the third? Evidently in the men’s room at the left rear. (“Oh no, I shouldn’t interrupt the gentlemen,” says Nicole should you try to enter.) However, you’ll get the same response if you try the door after all three bikes vanish from the street and the both bikers from the table.

Emperor Theater

Climb the stairs to find the door at the top locked and handle-less.

Don’t think handle. Think foothold. The window above the door is open and a makeshift step inserted into the handle hole would give Nina a leg-up toward the opening.

What might fit in that hole? Well, remember how you were able to take the oil bottle on the bikers’ table after they left? The motorcycles out front are gone, too, and that allows you to claim the screwdriver that earlier was obscured by the middle bike’s front wheel. Insert this where the door handle should be.

By itself, that won’t get you through the window. You need something to prop the window open. So when you enter the theater’s back yard, the first thing to do is head left and take the rod on the ground to the right of the bathroom window.

(Also, in the interest of convenience, grab the bricks and the middle of the three buckets just left of the rod. You can come back and collect these later if you like — but, as mentioned, once you enter the theater, getting out again can prove slightly tricky.)

Use the rod on the window and then climb through.

It stands to reason there’s another message for Nicole here. You’ll find it in the projection booth around the corner. Move to the left rear corner and then zoom in on the table in front of you. Take the film can marked with Nicole’s name and left-lick on it in inventory to remove a reel of film.

Now to play it. That’s a rather complicated affair.

First, you’ll need to wind the film onto a second reel — this small one won’t play in the projectors — and an large empty one can be found right in front of you. Take it and zoom in on the rewinding machine on the table. Place the empty reel on the right spindle and Nicole’s film on the left. Now you just have to turn the crank to transfer the film. Zoom in again on the crank.

Alas, the handle is missing. This wouldn’t thwart most of us — we’d just grab the handle-less end of the crank and turn it anyway — but Nicole seems to have torque issues, so we’re off to find a substitute handle.

You won’t have to go far: It’s the stubby screwdriver on the table in the foreground just outside the booth door.  Insert this where the rewind handle goes and activate it to transfer the film onto the right-hand reel. Then take the right reel.

Next we’ll set up a projector. In the process, you’re going to run into a whole series of problems. You’ll save yourself some disappointment and running about if you first take care of the three that can be tackled in advance. (One can’t.)

– The power to the projectors is off. It’s easy to restore. In the full room views, you’ll see an “amplifier” high on the left or far wall.  Zoom in on it and activate with a left-click the left of the two small switches just below and to the right of the “monitor” knob at the left. The gizmo lights up and Nicole presumes that it’s working. (It is.)

– Pull back the sliding panel that covers the aperture through which the projector beams the film. You’ll find that the glass behind it is filthy. If you already have the paper towels and “Mr. Cleaner” spray from the bar restroom, you’re good. Just use the spray on the towels and then the towels on the glass.

If you left these items behind in the Gentle Bob restroom, you’ll have to go back and get them. En route, you’ll develop a couple of extra problems.

When Nicole retreats toward  the door back to the theater’s rear lot, the floor just inside the door collapses at her feet. Happily, there’s a cast-off door leaning against the right wall. Simply left-click on it to tip it over to bridge the gap.

Without a leg-up on this side of the door — no screwdriver in the handle hole — Nicole can’t back climb through the window above the door. You’ll have to unlock the door instead.

The key’s easy to find. It’s hanging just right of the door to the projection booth. Use this on the door twice to unlock it and then make your way down the stairs and into the bar’s rest room.

– Curtains cover the movie screen. You’ll have to find a way to part them.

Leave the booth and descend the stairs to the auditorium. You want the lighted doorway in the upper right corner.

The curtain controls are on the left wall of this small storage room. Zoom in on them. The automatic controls don’t work and the manual ones below seem to be missing a couple of parts.

Mercifully, the important part is here — the cast-iron flywheel against the far wall  — and you can cobble together a replacement for the missing ratchet that must once have adorned the steel peg to the right.

The wheel goes on the “revolving mechanism” at the left. Then left-click on the handle at the bottom of the wheel and hold down the mouse button as you rotate the wheel. After the fifth rotation, the wheel will catch and you’ll have a brief opportunity to anchor it in place. Put the bricks from the theater’s back yard into the bucket and use the bucket on the handle. The curtains part!

(If you left the bricks and bucket in the theater’s back yard, follow the instructions in the section about cleaning the embrasure in the projection booth  to reach the theater’s side lot.)

– The projector lamp is missing a bulb.

You have a bulb. In the profile view of the projector, zoom in on the left side, open the projector cover (using the red-and-white handle) and place the bulb you received in the mail into the “bulb” space” at the left.

– Set up the film.

Nicole’s film goes in the upper of the two “reel spaces” to the right. The lower one requires an empty reel to receive the film — which you may not have.

Leave the booth. Out in the hall, you’ll see a stack of empty reels in the near left corner — most of them warped. Take the intact one on top and place it in the lower “reel space.”

Return to the profile view of the projector and click on the power switch. (This is suspended by a cable from the projector lamp.)

– Ulp! The projector runs for about a second before the bulb burns out.

Simply cannibalize the slightly more bulbous bulb from the far projector.

(Note that you can’t anticipate this problem and swap out the bulbs in advance. If you do, the bulbous bulb burns out instead and you’ll have to replace it with the one you received in the mail.)

Save your game, then hit the power button again and the movie plays.

Watch carefully. You’ll be treated to a range of scenes from the first two Art of Murder games (some now labeled “FBI archive,” which raises the question of how they wound up in third-party hands); footage of Nicole as media darling; what appears to be surveillance footage; a brief shot of a theater seating plan (with the rectangles emblem from the inner surface of the wrapping paper for the metal box); and two of just the rectangles emblem, now filled in with a “V” and a “d.”

The emblem clearly links the “Vd” with a seating plan. Coordinates for a particular seat? Yup: Fifth row, fourth seat from the left.

You don’t have to first inspect the actual seating plan (in the darkness to the right of the locked side exit from the auditorium) to find the seat. But you’re not going to locate seat or plan without a light source. That’d be the flashlight atop the stack of reels on the right side of the lighted storage room to the right of the screen.

Move to the front of the auditorium and you will be able to tick off the rows and seats with little difficulty. Select the appropriate seat and Nicole will pivot the chair bottom to expose a piece of metal — collected automatically. Right-click on this in inventory and rotate it slightly counter-clockwise and you’ll see a train ticket has been attached. Left-click on this to remove it and you’ll see it’s for the train due at the Blake Avenue station at 7 p.m.

Time to leave. The side exit is apparently locked (“blocked”) but you can force it using the piece of metal.

Alternate route: You can also try to get out of the theater the way you came in, but you’ll have to repair the collapsed floor and find the key — as in the return-for-supplies scenario described above — and then you’ll find the bars on the bathroom window locked in place again.

Railroad Station

When Nicole leaves the theater, a cut-scene kicks in. A car is stalled on the train tracks, and the 7 p.m. train is in-bound. (And given that it’s supposed to stop at the station, going pretty damn fast, too.) We’re reminded by an overhead shot that this is the same cut-scene Nicole saw when she touched the contents of the box. The luckless driver tries to get out at the last moment, but is unsuccessful.

“This man didn’t have a chance,” says Nicole. “But how could this happen?”

Good question. People do get stuck at railway crossings by accident and even design. But it’s a late-model car and not likely to stall. And why didn’t the driver just abandon his vehicle?

Nicole automatically removes to the left end of the train platform. Note the presence of the technician Wang and his toolbox.

You can talk to Williams — the black cop with the Irish accent who’s holding back the onlookers. Via “Accident,” he’ll give you the impression there’s thought to have been a malfunction with the barrier. It was serviced just a month ago by someone named Masters.

All this detail is a red herring.  It’s really designed to prompt you to inspect the barrier itself. Move right twice and then down and right to reach the crossing. Zoom in on the gap between the crossing bars and you’ll find a playing card (a Jack of Hearts) inserted behind one of the blinking lights. Right-click on it and Nicole suggests a photo. Return to Wang and talk to him about “Accident,” “Traces” and “Evidence” and you’ll be able to take the camera and evidence bags from his toolkit. Use the camera on the card and then bag it. Here Nicole suggests a return to the theater to “secure the traces.”

Now, you’re not quite done out at the barrier — the locked box and the manhole to the left are related hotspots — but you can wrap up your business in the theater now or later. Here’s what remains to be done.

The barrier: Zoom in on the switch box and you’ll see a rectangle-within-a-rectangle symbol from the wrapping paper and theater seating plan on top at the left.

Clearly, Nicole needs to get inside the box, but she has nothing resembling a key. But you look at the keyhole, you’ll get a sense of what might be required to open the box: a “tubular” or “barrel” key. And you can find a tube: A copper one rests atop the trash can at the right end of the station platform. It doesn’t fit the lock in its current state, but if you examine the tube in inventory, Nicole notes that copper is “quite easily bent.”

And, as it happens, the pipe does fit directly into the hole at the center of the adjacent manhole. You just need something with which to bash it to change the shape of the inserted end. (Yes, miraculously, the manhole-cover hole is of the exact size and configuration as the keyhole.)

You’re fresh out of bashing material. But the accident seems to have kicked up a piece of the platform. At the left end of the station, you’ll find a concrete block under the section of police tape nearest the wrecked car. Grab it, hustle back to the manhole, whomp the pipe and grab the pipe again. Use the re-formed pipe on the keyhole and then activate the pipe twice to open the compartment door.

Inside, a news clipping about a month-old murder. (This appears to be the one involving the body found in the intro.)  Snap photos of the symbol on top of the box and the article itself and bag the article. Nicole here suggests you turn in your evidence to Wang. (You won’t be able to do so until you complete the theater sequence as well.)

Odds & ends: An article on the back — “Physicists Thrill to Finding of Superconductor” — appears to be a real article that appeared in the New York Times on 2/24/01.

The theater: Use the side entrance. (The Gentle Bob bar is now closed.) There are three “traces” within: the bulb Nicole received in the parcel, the film (now in the lower “reel space”) and a photo of the theater’s seat plan with its rectangle-within-a-rectangle. Snap it and get out. (Once you’ve completed your business here, Nicole says, “Done!”)

Return the camera and evidence bags to Wang’s toolkit, talk to Wang about “Return” and you’ll now get an “Evidence” topic that allows Nicole to turn over everything but the flashlight and burned-out bulb. Just talk to Patti (who’s watching the action from a position behind the police tape) about “Accident” and “Getting back home” and you’ll call it quits for the day.

October 20

FBI Field Office

You’ll start off in the building where Nicole was based in FBI Confidential. Back then, it was a work-in-progress. Now the renovations are complete, a variety of new operations have been included … and some things you’ll recall from the first Art of Murder game are now in slightly different locations.

You’ll start off in the lab. Talk to Wang. You’ll get four salient bits of data from him.

1) He agrees the train death is a murder. He’s discovered the car didn’t stall by accident. A chip with a radio receiver was placed in the car’s power circuit and the engine was turned off and the doors locked remotely.

2) An expert Wang believes to have been referred to him by Nicole concurs in these conclusions.

(Hold it. What expert?)

3) He also turns over a blood-spattered sheet of paper retrieved from the car. It reads,  “Holland Street 7 p.m.” — Holland being a street near the railroad crossing. Presumably this reflects how the killer lured the victim into the area. (However, this item doesn’t require further analysis and Nicole never does anything with it. It can be removed from the evidence bag using the gloves in a box on the counter to the left of Wang, but can’t be used with the scanner.)

4) Finally, Wang hasn’t had time to look at the playing card Nicole retrieved from the crossing barrier, but is willing to allow Nicole to handle this task herself using the scanner over to the left in tandem with the computer in Nicole’s own office.

You can start this process now. Zoom in on the counter just left of the area where Wang’s working and take the bagged playing card at the left and a pair of rubber gloves from the left of the two boxes to the right.

Now for the scanner. It’s just to the left of the tall server rack. Zoom in on it and open it by left-clicking on the top. Right-click on the card in inventory and then use the gloves on the bagged item to remove it from the evidence bag. (Or you can simply use the gloves twice on the bagged card.) Place the card inside the scanner, close the top and press the rectangular button at the front. When the scan is complete, open the top again,.right-click on the card to flip it over and run another scan. The results are stored on the FBI’s mainframe for later analysis. (We’ll get to that in a moment.)

Retrieve the card and re-bag it. Replace the bagged card on the counter where you found it (in the close-up view), close the scanner and leave the lab.

Outside, you’ll find the expert — one Jason Emmerick. Nicole talks to him automatically. He doesn’t say anything appreciably different than what you’ve already learned from Wang — though he does include a forward-looking reference to a “seaside retreat” — and Nicole neglects to ask how he came to contact Wang in the first place or even for ID. (I’d be a bit wary about an unsolicited expert turning up out of nowhere.) He asks for Nicole’s business card and she automatically heads off to her office to retrieve one.

Look at Nicole’s desk and take the calling cards to the right of the phone. Nicole observes that cards for partner Nick Romsky (a peripheral presence in the first two Art of Murder games) are on top. Look at them in inventory to see that in fact they’re all Nick’s. Nick’s here. Talk to him about “Packing up,” “Explanation,” “Calling card” and “Calling card box” to learn he’s quitting the Bureau to become a private investigator — sounds as though he’s been pushed — and to swap Nick’s cards for Nicole’s.

Out in the hall, you’ll find Emmerick has vanished. But just drop down the stairs and you’ll find him beside the pillar to the right of Reception. Talk to him about “Calling card” to turn one over and elicit additional come-ons before he makes himself scarce.

Odds & ends: You can explore the neighborhood in a minor way. Leave the building and go down and right to reach Nicole’s car and a distant view of heavy traffic on a cross-street.

You have one loose thread still hanging: You need to look at your scans of the playing card. Wang asked you to do so on Nicole’s PC — and you already know from the first zoomed-in view of Nicole’s desk that someone’s had a go at that system. It’s been dismantled. Examine it with a right-click and Nicole says, “Was the IT bored? I’ve got to ask him.”

Don’t bother. Though you can collect a range of insights (starting with Nick — until Nicole hands off the calling card) about what happened to the computer, the computer stays broken and the IT offices (in the upper right corner downstairs) remain inaccessible for the rest of the game.

However, you can now beg Wang to use the lab terminal. He agrees, but also extracts a favor. In exchange, Nicole is to pose as Wang at the office’s shooting range so the tech can be recertified with his weapon. (He’ll automatically supply his ID card for this purpose.)

Drop down the stairs again and head to the upper right corner of the hall. The shooting range is the rightmost door in the upper wall. Use Wang’s ID on the card reader to the right of the door and then enter.

At the central firing station, pick up the pistol and fire at the target until Nicole says “This should be enough for Wang.” It’s too easy. All you have to do is hit the piece of paper containing the target — not the bullseye, hell, not even the actual target area — 10 times. (If you need to change targets, throw the switch at the left to recover the old target, left-click on the fresh targets on the counter and throw the switch again to restore the target to its position at the end of the range. If more ammo, just left-click on the cartridges to the right.)

Then return to the lab and talk to Wang about “Shooting range” to return his ID.

Now you’re free to use the terminal to the right of the servers. Log in with a left-click, press the “enter” key and you’ll find yourself peering at a largely empty screen with images of the two sides of the playing card in the upper left corner. Drag both images into the wide bar at the top of the screen. Then the select the “?” icon at the upper right to run an analysis of both sides. This will come up with four selectable regions on the “reverse” (back) side of the card and five on the “obverse” (face) side.

Now you have to select a subset of these nine regions to compare to the database. This is actually three questions: How many, which ones … and why?

Trial and error will reveal that four is too many — Nicole’s just not patient enough to wait for such searches to complete — and two is too few. (This produces far too many responses to prove useful.)

So three then. But which three of the nine available regions should you select?

Most of it can be figured out logically. For starters, given the preponderance of regions on the “obverse” side, we can safely assume we’ll need to highlight two regions there and one on the “reverse” side.

And the key to selecting them? Right-click on any region and Nicole mentions that a selected area must be “characteristic.” In other words, you don’t want to waste a slot on areas that are graphically undistinctive or unrepresentative.

Hence, on the “reverse” side, you’ll want to exclude the two regions (at the lower right and upper left) that display in whole or significant part the webwork that makes up much of the image. That leaves two regions, with the more distinctive of the two being the left edge of the central circle  — incorporating as it does portions of three different graphical motifs.

On the “obverse” side, ignore the two lower regions that display browning. That leaves the three upper regions. And here you’ll run into a problem: They may all seem equally distinctive. How do you pick out two? xxx

Break it down. The “J” in the upper left corner is an easy choice for the first and, of the remaining two. it’s easy to fasten onto the Jack’s distinctive face rather than its more obscure right hand.

So, to sum up, the correct regions are the central one on the “reverse” side and the top two on the “obverse.” With these three regions highlighted, run a search by clicking on the magnifying glass symbol in the upper right corner. You’ll come up with five matches to other killings at which cards from the same deck were used — the fourth being the one in the intro and the fifth the Blake Avenue murder.

Nicole now suggests running this by her boss. Leave the lab and use the door in the near right corner. Talk to secretary Ruth about “Vacation” and “Boss,” enter the office to the right and talk to the boss (who’s still not allowed to have a name). This chat goes on for quite a while. You’ll learn here that the killer will be nicknamed The Card Man, that your new partner is Richard Parry, who’s worked on some of these murders, and that you shouldn’t leave the building just yet. A parcel has been found outside.

Descend the stairs and step through the main door to set off a cut-scene: the parcel (addressed to Nicole) being collected by a robot and deposited in a steel tank in the sapper unit.

Nicole automatically removes to the sapper room — located downstairs to the left of the soda machine. Talk to the sapper here to learn the wrapping has been sent up to the lab for analysis and that the metal box in the tank has a four-digit combination lock.

There must be some kind of hint to the combination on the wrapper — this killer likes to lead you by the nose — so your first stop should be the lab. Talk to Wang and he’ll turn the paper over with a reference to “some scrawls.”

I’ll say. Right-click on the wrapper in inventory to find the paper evenly coated with numbers, letters and doodles. Nicole suggests making a copy. Use the gloves on the wrapper to remove it from the evidence bag and then use the paper on the copier in the left rear corner of Ruth’s office.

You’ll find the copy in your inventory. Right-click on it and Nicole suggests folding it to read the killer’s message. (The original’s fold lines have already been duplicated on your copy.)

You’ll feel inclined to combine the red doodles to the far left and far right, and you can — but this’ll only get you half the combination. The full combo can be produced only by flipping over to the other side of the sheet. (Click on the up arrow on the paper’s upper edge or the down arrow on the lower edge.) The notation “53G” should now appear upright on the left side of the paper.

Now left-click on:

– the leftward arrow on the right side of the rightmost vertical fold,

– the upward arrow on the lower side of the lower horizontal fold

– the rightward arrow on the left side of the left vertical fold

And there it is: 6 8 Q and a heart symbol!

Go talk to the sapper. Nicole interprets those last two symbols as the Queen of Hearts and the sapper can help her assign this a numeric value. In Blackjack, all face cards are worth 10 points — but that would rob the Queen of any special significance, so it must be 12. Hence, the combination is “6-8-1-2.”

Use the computer’s joystick to control the robotic arm in the chamber. It can be a little tricky. Just move the joystick in baby steps to the right to bring it over each of the four dials, then press the left button to close the pincers and then move the joystick up or down to adjust the number. (The right button brings the arm back to its starting position.) When you’re done, talk to the sapper about “Success” and you’ll be able to enter the chamber and, with gloves, claim a token and a turnpike ticket. Just bag whichever one you pick up first and use the gloves to hold the second. You’ll be able to grab a second bag when you return to the lab.

Back in the lab,  grab a second evidence bag from Wang’s counter and then scan both token and ticket. (Either side of the coin and the front side of the ticket will do here.)

The single region on the token is automatically selected, but what about the toll ticket? Each of the nine exits displayed is a selectable area. Can you draw a logical inference about which to select?

Nuh-uh. Examination of the token reveals it’s used in the entertainment industry and the picture on one side certainly looks like an entrance to an amusement park. But there’s no suggestion on the ticket of the presence of such a park at any exit nor reference material (i.e. the map at Nicole’s place) that could help you out.

This is pure trial and error. The errors come to an end when you select Exit 15 and run a search. You’ll come up with a map that shows an amusement park at that exit on the New Jersey Turnpike.

Nicole here prompts you to talk to Wang. The upshot: Nicole favors an immediate raid on the park.

When you’re done, new partner Parry puts in an appearance. You’ll talk to this young Harvey Keitel automatically. Parry urges evaluation and discussion. What if Nicole’s selected the wrong location?

Nicole is not at her most diplomatic. Unreasonably, she challenges Parry to produce an alternate destination for the SWAT unit and insists the murder could be proceeding even now without her presence as spectator.

Next thing you know, you’re outside Luna Park.

Luna Park

Enter the park through the clown’s mouth. You’ll find yourself at the end of a midway … and perhaps feeling a little lost.

The only clear lead here is the left of the two binocular kiosks at the entrance to an alley to the right. This has been pre-sighted on the shooting gallery on the left side of the midway.

Head over there to find it’s locked up tight. To get inside. you’ll need a key to unlock the steel shutter, a crank to raise it and a ladder, a supply of oil and an oil can to lubricate the shutter mechanism. (The right binoculars won’t work without the correct tokens — which you won’t find until near the end of this segment — but try them out anyway, as this will help get you through an upcoming conversation.)

The ladder: You’ll see a blue dumpster to the the left of the shooting gallery and what looks like an old bed-frame (“metal railing”) beside it. Take it, place it against the wall to the right of the crank and key hole and left-click on it to change its orientation. It now functions as a ladder and you can climb it and peer inside the shutter mechanism. (A right-click on the gears within reveals it “may be seized up.”)

The crank:  Back out to the midway view and check out the concession stand to the left of the shooting gallery. The crank’s still in place to the left of the door. Take it and insert it in the hole beside the shutter. (If you try to turn it, you’ll learn “something’s jammed.”)

The key: Enter the security shack on the right side of the midway — first removing (and automatically keeping) the block in front of the door.

Three locations of interest here: the padlocked fridge at the back, the key cabinet on the right wall and the desk to the left.

For now, two things: Look at the padlock in closeup — this sets up a critical line from Nicole later in the segment — and open the desk’s top left drawer. Within, the shooting-gallery shutter key, a handful of tokens like the one Nicole received in the parcel (right-click on it in inventory and Nicole trumpets her vindication), an energy-saving light bulb and a round metal box of airgun ammo. Take ‘em all. The tokens and ammo are for the shooting gallery. (We’ll get to the bulb a bit later. See “Oil can” below.) Insert the key in the keyhole to the right of the shutter and turn it.

Oil: You’ll find a large can of oil on the right at the end of the alley that leads right from the security shack.

Oil can: This one takes a bit more work.

In a hint-in-reverse, you’re actually steered away from the park’s key location — the Evil House ride at the far end of the midway — by the uniformed police officer out front. Talk to him and he’ll tell you SWAT personnel have already been through the haunted-house ride, chuckling as they emerged.

On one hand, you can read this as “This has been covered.” But you’re supposed to read it as “This has been covered by folks who didn’t take it seriously.”

So take it seriously. The ride itself is shut down — how did SWAT get inside? — and if you enter the control room to the right, you’ll find the control console locked. Two keys are hanging from a nail left of the window above the console. Alas, they don’t fit the keyhole at the right side of the console.

But they do fit the door to the workroom to the left of the ride’s entryway. Inside, you’ll see the corner of a workbench to the right. You can’t interact with it just yet. It’s too dark. There’s no bulb in the socket overhead. So plug in the bulb from the security shack, pull the cord to turn it on and then grab the oil can from the left side of the worktable below. (Also the string on the hook on the back wall and the wheel at the back center. And note the presence of the handle-less vice at the front left.) Use the big oil can on this small one to fill it and use the filled can on the grease hole at the top right corner of the shooting gallery’s shutter.

Now you’re all set to open up the shooting gallery. Just turn the crank to raise the shutter, approach the counter, place a token from the security-shack drawer in the slot and press the red button to start. A row of ducks trundles into view from the left and then stops.

The game’s pretty much a formality — much like Nicole’s target practice back to the field office. Pick up the rifle and use it to bring down all the sitting ducks and moving rabbits and you’ll win a witch doll. (If you’re distracted and the game ends without you completing the task, just push the button again.)  Take the witch and spin it around in inventory to find a key tagged “9” embedded in its back.

Now, something rather subtle has happened here. When you pick up the air rifle, a new item appears on the counter: a bit of yellow plastic. Take it. You won’t be able to get into the Evil House ride without it.

And what does our new key fit?

In fact, it doesn’t fit any lock. It’s the missing component of a puzzle back in the security shack.

Remember the key cabinet on the shack’s right wall? It is padlocked, but to no good effect. The upper right hinge can be dismantled. Just zoom in on it, pull out the nail that serves as the spindle, back out of the closeup and left-click near that hinge to open the cabinet.  You now have access to 22 additional keys. Which one(s) do you take?

All of them — each only briefly.

The first time you take a key, Nicole notes that some of the tags display arrows — the second, that the keys are out of order. And when you use your new #9 key on any hook, she’ll suggest an order: left to right and top to bottom. To do this, you’ll need to pick up all the keys (collectively or individually) and place them in their correct positions — when necessary right-clicking on a key in inventory and rotating the image to display the numbered tag.

This’ll take a while. When the process is complete, Nicole says all the keys are in place and suggests you examine their arrangement.

You’ll notice two things.

1) The #16 key is missing. (Don’t bother looking for it. This is a red herring. It never turns up.)

2) The arrows on the tags for the #2 and #9 keys point to #14.

No, #14 doesn’t open anything either. Rather, the numbers on 2, 9 and 14 together form the combination for the padlock on the refrigerator at the back. Just plug 2-9-1-4 into the combination lock, open the door and take the keys from the front of the top shelf.

The puzzle appears to be over and yet this is where it can get a bit tricky. Though Nicole offers all manner of hints as you assemble the keys, you may notice that she doesn’t actually disclose anything about what the arrangement means …

… unless you have examined in closeup the combination lock on the fridge at the rear and then open the key cabinet after completing the puzzle. Nicole then says, “The keys give the number 2914.”

(This comment isn’t required to unlock the fridge, but it is important — helping set up as it does a key line in a later conversation with security guard Archie Benson.)

Make your way back to the Evil House ride. You’ll find Parry here and have another automatic chat. It goes about as well as the earlier one — Nicole doesn’t explain herself well and Parry seems closed off to the possibilities– and ends with Parry and the SWAT team abandoning the scene on the boss’s say-so.

So you’re on your own. Enter the control room, insert the key from the fridge in the control console and turn it to enable the console.

Now to turn on the power. Simply press the S-2 and S-3 buttons. (The order doesn’t matter.) All five lights come on, but the “ghost train” doesn’t move. Nicole suggests an inspection.

It turns out the front car is missing a wheel and a pin to hold the wheel in place. You can supply the wheel right now — it’s the one you found on the workbench — but the nail from the hinge in the security shack proves too short to serve as a retaining pin. (It’ll find a use a little later.)

There is another nail — the one beside the window above the console, from which you earlier retrieved the key to the storage room — but it’s not coming out on its own. You need some kind of tool for this purpose.

A hammer? There is indeed a hammer on the workroom floor — visible through the door — and a second on the workbench, but neither has the traditional claw used for removing nails. (However, take the hammer on the floor anyway, as you’ll soon need it for another purpose.)

You’ll have to improvise the claw — say, with that loose bar on the gate at the ride’s exit. One end has an ornamental flourish that might catch the nail head. Sure enough, it does and the nail is yours.

And yet you may wonder if you have the right one. Try to use the nail on the axle and Nicole comes back with the usual “Not gonna happen” (or some variant).

The issue is that you have a badly bent nail where you need a straight one. Perhaps the vice on the storage room workbench could straighten it out for you … but first you’ll have to straighten out the vice. It’s missing a handle and you can’t put the nail in place until you close the vice’s jaws.

The only suitable item is the metal bar (“prop”) on the windowsill above the ride’s control console. Insert this in the hole on the vice screw and then left-click on the handle to close the vice. Insert the bent nail into the small gap between the jaws and left-click on the handle again and you’ve got a long straight nail. Left-click on the vice handle a third time to loosen its grip and you can retrieve the nail and use it on the ghost train axle. Nicole now instructs you to bend the nail so it will remain in place — easily done with a tap from the hammer from the workroom floor.

If you like, you can beat a path back to the console and try to start the “ghost train” again. Off it goes without Nicole on board. (You can monitor its progress from the console lights.)

But this isn’t required. You can anticipate this problem and set about preventing the train from taking off until Nicole’s ready to board.

In the closeup view of the full car (i.e. not of the axle), look at the “Car underbody” just left of the wheel you replaced to get an idea. You’ll see a set of small metal wheels and a contact strip that transfer power from the track to the train’s engine. You’re not told as much, but if you could slip something non-conductive between the rail and the wheels and pull it out once Nicole’s in the train, you’d be all set.

You may even have that item already. Remember the piece of plastic from the shooting gallery? This’ll do admirably, but you still need some way to pull it out remotely once Nicole’s in the train.

And that is a bit ticklish. The string from the workbench must connect to the tile somehow, but the tile is not string-ready. It needs a hole and attempts to poke a hole with the remaining nail just produce Nicole’s standard no-dice answers. You’ll have to first secure the plastic in the workshop vice, then use the nail on the plastic and then, with the tile back in inventory, the string on the hole. Now simply place the plastic + string under the metal wheels and Nicole automatically slings the string over the front of the car.

Retreat to the control room and turn on the power, then return to the train and pull the string. Cut-scene — ending with Nicole retrieving a Queen of Hearts from the horn of a menacing animatronic devil. Once the ride ends, she’ll call Parry again to report her success, but his position is unchanged and Nicole winds up calling him an “asshole”.

Retreat back up the midway. Long pause.

Here you’ll meet Archie Benson, the security guard for the demolition company. He doesn’t seem to know much (or just doesn’t admit to knowing much). But your chat with him establishes two things: He’ll visit the FBI’s offices in NY the next day for an interview and he’ll swap you some tokens (different from the ones you used at the shooting gallery) for the combination to the security-shack fridge.

Suppose you don’t get a chance to propose that exchange? Then you’ve skipped something. Either you failed to elicit the “2914” line from Nicole (by examining the fridge padlock and opening the key cabinet after solving the key puzzle) or you haven’t examined the right of the two binocular kiosks outside the security shed (and thus established that you don’t have the right tokens). If necessary, play catch-up and do that now.

Just use one of the tokens on the right-hand binoculars outside the security shack, throw the little lever and use the eyepieces. You’ll discover the binocs are equipped with night vision and that the blurry view is pre-sighted on a barrel bearing the letter “Q” and a heart sign — just like your new playing card.

What’s behind the wall? To find out, you’ll have to knock down the barrels. Use the block you found at the security shack door on the empty patch of ground at the base of the barrel wall.  This serves as a fulcrum, but where’s your lever? It’s the only take-able item we haven’t collected: the shovel (“spade”) just right of the door to the haunted-house ride control room. Use it on the barrels. Cut scene as the barrels tumble. Retreat to the binoculars and look through them again. Off in the distance, you’ll see an old building.

“A factory?” asks Nicole. “A power plant?”

I’m unsure why Nicole needs a firm answer to proceed — what difference does it make? — but she does. By now, Benson has crept off to the security shack to trade his newly-acquired combination for a cold one. Talk to him about “Power plant” and he’ll identify the location. Nicole automatically makes her way out to the car and shows up outside the plant.

Odds & ends: The “Luna Park” name has been used by many amusement parks — the first opening in Brooklyn’s Coney Island section in 1903.

– Nicole has a little help here. I’ve already mentioned the officer outside the Evil House ride. Initially, you’ll find three others sited in and around the park:

1) the SWAT commander and Parry in the parking lot. Nicole can talk to them jointly. Parry is as skeptical as before. T he commander reveals that nothing suspicious has turned up so far and that you can call on his men for backup. (Indeed you can: Two of them can supply hints.)

Parry vanishes when Nicole enters the park — reappearing in the side street with the barrel wall once she moves in for a closeup view for the shooting-gallery keyhole. He’ll move to the front of the Evil House ride when Nicole collects the ride key. (The commander may remain on station up to the Evil House segment. Or he may vanish.)

2) a SWAT team member at the near end of the midway offers a hint if Nicole asks him about “Crank” after inserting crank and key and trying the crank. He’ll remove to the front of the rifle range, try to help (without success) and then suggest “the cogs need to be oiled.”

– In the key-cabinet  puzzle, since the numbers are supposed to be in a sequence, shouldn’t the arrow on the #2 key be pointing at the #9 key rather than the #6?

– Nicole says she’ll call the boss to protest SWAT’s withdrawal. She can’t. The cell phone is just an ornament  and you will find every line busy except for Parry’s. (Nicole’s evidently too pissed off to talk to him again.)

Power Plant

Walk into the building to trigger a short cut scene. Nicole sees a huge gear being lowered above a upright generator. (This lowering occurs in increments at predetermined points as you progress through this segment, but it’s meaningless. It never descends all the way.)

Nicole wants  to know what’s on the platform up top. Oblige her. Climb the stairs in the near left corner, then head all the way  right and climb the ladder. You’ll find Nicole atop a second generator adjacent to the first. Beneath the dangling gear, she can now see a tied-up woman. A quick, comparatively civil call to Parry and the FBI is headed to the scene.

Note that Nicole told Parry the place is “mined.” First we’ve heard about it, but she’s right. If Nicole messes with the device that directs laser beams around the structure or the bomb at the top of the building without knowing what she’s doing, she’ll set off a huge conflagration (which is worth seeing once) and Nicole will die.

Now that you’ve found the prospective victim, you have access to the next level of the walkway. Descend the ladder back to the walkway and head left. The door at the left end of this level is locked (“blocked”), but Nicole can now open the window at the far left (previously inaccessible).

You’ll find her out on a ledge — a la the Montmartre sequence in Hunt for the Puppeteer. Click on the pipe around two corners to the left, the fire-escape platform to the left, the ladder and finally the window around the corner to the right. Back inside the structure, head  right and, when the scene pulls back to the full view, down and to the right. At the near end of the walkway, you’ll be able to inspect in closeup a ladder leading up to the top level and the laser junction box below and take a schematic. (The last is that bit of paper below and slightly right of the box.)

The ladder is currently impassable. A laser beam from the green box below passes through a hole in the hatch at the top. Open the hatch and you’d break the beam and …


So what’s to be done? Examination of the laser box (three positions for its dial) and the schematic (an alternate configuration of the lasers) should suggest to you that the beam could be redirected. But if you change the settings right now, it’s all going to blow up in your face. Why?

The laser currently completes a circuit. Break the circuit at any point and the building gets very hot very quickly. But if you could somehow complete a circuit in a different configuration — one that doesn’t involve the laser passing through the hatch — the trigger for the explosives wouldn’t identify an interruption, the ladder would be laser-free and Nicole would be able to open the hatch and climb to the building’s top level.

Sure enough, there are two laser boxes on the left side of the structure that aren’t currently being used at all — the lower of the two directly in-line with this box on the right.

The problem: The domed cover atop of the generator Nicole visited on the previous level blocks the prospective path. The cover does have two holes through which the beam might pass, but they’re currently out of alignment. So you have a new challenge: Find a way to turn the cover so its holes would line up with a redirected laser beam.

Head back downstairs. (No, you don’t have to edge along the ledges again. When you reach the second level, Nicole opens the formerly locked/blocked door.)

You’ll need two tools: a wrench to unscrew the bolts that hold the cover in place and a lever that will give you some torque.

– The lever can only be the pipe sticking out of the windshield of the Volkswagen bus outside the plant.

– The wrench is in the station itself — in the top left drawer of the workbench at the far end of the entry level.

You’ll need the screwdriver and flat file here soon enough, so take them as well, along with the round and triangle files and the key in the top right drawer. And heck, since you’re down here, take the fire extinguisher at the base of the turbine as well. These will all find uses in the final sequence.

OK, back to the top of the turbine. Use the wrench to remove the three bolts, insert the pipe from the VW in the hole on the right side of the cover and activate the pipe to give it a good push. The cover rotates and when you pull back to the full view, you’ll see the gaps in the cover are now in line with the laser boxes to left and right. You’re ready to re-jigger the lasers.

Take the wire cutters to the right of the cover — no, you don’t have a use for them yet, but they’re about to become less readily accessible — and head back to the laser box. Zoom in on it and your game will be saved automatically. Turn the dial to the top setting and the laser beam is reconfigured. The hatch is clear. Open it, climb the ladder and move left to the crane.

There’s a bomb here and you’re now equipped to disarm it.

First step? You’d think it would be deactivating the senor at  the top center, but it’s the four screws in the corners of the top plate. They’re non-standard and the flat head screwdriver in your inventory is sadly standard. Can you modify it?

You can. That’s what the three files from the workbench are about. Right-click on the screwdriver in inventory to call up its image and then use each of the files on it. Any order’s OK. Now the screwdriver’s non-standard as well.

But don’t use it yet. You can’t actually  touch the bomb until you’ve deactivated the motion sensor at the top. Use the fire extinguisher on it. As long as the sensor appears frosted, you can work freely with the bomb. Each squirt should buy you enough time to remove two or three screws.

And now you have another problem. Even though the screws have been removed, you may find you can’t remove the cover.
If so, freeze the sensor again and use the screwdriver to pry up the left or right edge.

Now to deal with the bomb itself. You can do the next two steps in either order.

– Nicole here instructs you to cut the wire from the laser controller (upper left) to the battery (upper right). This is not super-helpful. I’m reminded of a line from the intro to the Family Guy episode “Brian Does Hollywood”: “What do you mean, ‘Cut the blue wire.’ They’re all blue wires!’ ”

They’re pretty much all blue wires here, too, but there are just two that fit Nicole’s description. You want the lower one and the game’s oddly particular about where you cut it. You want to cut the first wire that passes above the blinking LED (i.e. NOT the wires coming out of the LED).

This shuts down the lasers.

Goof?: But shouldn’t you have to unscrew the bomb’s inner plastic cover first? Apparently not!

2) Use the key handle to remove the “space sleeves” at the four corners of the case and then left-click on the inner cover to remove it.

Finally, jam the screwdriver into the clock mechanism.

Nicole then uses the dangling gear to reach the would-be victim’s location — not the best idea, given how tenuous the support threads appear — and, sighting a man through a doorway, heads off in pursuit. Alas, she falls through a boarded-over section of walkway and by the time she recovers, he’s gone.

October 21

FBI Field Office

Nicole’s back in the office watching through a one-way mirror as Parry questions parolee Benson (who has reported as ordered). You’ll talk to the boss automatically. Nicole offers that Benson seems “a sidekick at most.” She’ll leave the room room at the same time Parry quits his interview.

Goof?: Outside the interview room, Nicole thinks to herself: “Dick blamed me for the unsuccessful action [at the power plant]. Is -he- the [Card Man’s] accomplice?”

Whoa there. Quite a logical leap. Perhaps it is just a script  mistake and the “he” is Archie. But it’s an awkward reminder of a lingering loose end: Judging from the FBI archive footage in the film at the theater, the killer does seem to have an “in” with law enforcement.

Talking to Benson is the next step, but you’ll want to go in with some ammo. Otherwise, the interview will come to nothing. You can talk to Parry here for a prompt, but it’s not required. Send Nicole upstairs to her office and left-click on the stack of files on the corner of her desk. (The files remain in place. Nicole has extracted the five victims’ photos.)

Enter the interview room and, in conversation, run the pics by Benson. He denies knowing any of the first four, but the fifth seems to connect and at length he’ll admit to knowing one (presumably that fifth one: Jane Harrington) and then to knowing “her and a few other guys” — all jurors in one of his trials.

When Nicole leaves, she’ll automatically have a chat with Parry. The upshot: Benson’s had two jury trials — one resulting in an acquittal on a murder charge and the other a conviction for rape. (In Nicole’s first interview with Benson, she says “attempted rape.”)  Parry says only the latter verdict makes sense as a motive.

Send Nicole upstairs to collect the suspect’s file from Ruth. (This is a red herring. You never get to examine its contents.)  You’ll run into the secretary at the head of the stairs and she’ll turn over the file and nudge you toward the boss. Nicole automatically removes to the boss’s office.

A number of seeming issues are raised in this exchange, but most of them are just musings or red herrings and are never explored. (he upshot is that Benson has an alibi and is to be released to his lawyer. )

The key bits of inf

– Benson was charged with murder in  the 1998 killing of lover Carol Austen — a new-age type whose talents included card reading. Her cards vanished when she was killed only to turn up later at Benson’s home and was then somehow pulled from the evidence list in his trial by mistake. No wonder he was acquitted.

Though it’s never stated explicitly, this presumably is the deck from which the Card Man’s Jack and Queen of Hearts were drawn. But how did he get hold of it? Along with its disappearance from the evidence list,  this seems to suggest a link between the killer and law enforcement.

– The Card Man’s victims are jurors from Benson’s murder trial. Hence, everyone involved with this case needs to be accounted for. Bizarrely, this task is handed off to Ruth and Nicole later gets some info for her on this angle. (Bad info, as it happens. Do FBI secretaries often aid in investigations?)

– And, finally, that Nicole’s the next move is to talk to Wang.

Do so now. Talk to him about “Work” and “Traces” to turn up a tidbit: He may have a partial print on the chip from the car. But that’s as far as it goes for now.

Once you wrap up this chat, Parry enters. Someone claiming responsibility for the last two killings has called looking for Nicole and will call back. Nicole automatically moves to the monitoring  room downstairs to take the call.

On the surface, you don’t get much of substance out of the call. The killer doesn’t like his code name “The Card Man “ (“You’ve understood so little”) and has you call him “Paul.” He suggests he knew the victims Harrington and Carter — at least to the extent required to lure them to their deaths. And he seems to enjoy preying on his victims’ dark sides and ambitions. (“It was always about something ugly and illicit.”) He rings off when Nicole pushes him to reveal his next victim.

Wang can’t trace the call — it was coming from out of state — but promises to work on it today and suggests Nicole do so herself.

And if that’s not enough, when Nicole automatically leaves the room, you’ll learn from the boss that another parcel  has arrived. This detonates harmlessly on its own before you can inspect it. Nicole automatically moves to the sapper room. The sapper says he will analyze the remains — no, he never does (like so many things in Cards of Destiny) — and turns over the wrapping. And, now, finally, you get back control for a while.

Bring the wrapper to Wang — he’s still upstairs in his lab — and talk to him about “Piece of paper.” While he’s examining it under the microscope, Nicole can question him about the recording of the phone call. You’ll learn he’s deleted the speaker’s voice — meaning you’ll be left with a tape of ambient noise, — and that Nicole should be able to handle the rest of the process on her own.

Finally, ask about “Traces” a second time to learn Wang has found some organic matter on the wrapper. “Probably seeds.”

You now seem to have a huge stack of potential tasks on your plate, but, as mentioned, a lot of them are just varieties of herring. They boil down to three: the seeds, the wrapping paper and the voice analysis. You can perform these in any order but you’ll have to finish all three to make progress in the game

Seeds:  You need to reassemble a seed from the five pieces found on the package wrapper.

From the left side of the lab counter, take the tweezers beside the lamp. Right-click on the bag of seed fragments to summon a closeup and use the tweezers on the bag. Now zoom in on the microscope and take a slide from the blue container to the right. Use the tweezers on the slide to place the seed fragments there. Open the little drawer (“stage”) in the front of the microscope. Place the slide inside, close the drawer again, turn on the light (via the switch at the bottom)  and look through the eyepiece at the top. You’ll have to diddle with the manual-focus knob to the right a bit and bring the picture into focus. (Eight ticks down from the top should do.)

You’ll now see five seed fragments in the view field. They all belong to a single seed and the idea here is to put them together with the tweezers. And it’s a bit tricky, being that you can not only drag them and rotate them (with a right-click), as in standard computer jigsaw puzzles, but flip them as well (with a double-click).

You can assemble this seed any old way. The example below sets up the partial seed in the same orientation in which you’ll see in the Bureau database

1) Drag the large piece with the two long “legs” to the middle of the view field. (This is just for convenience.)

2) Double-click on the large piece with the curved bottom at the bottom of the display to flip it over and then right-click on it three times to rotate it so the curved side is to the left. Now drag it up to connect with the top of the dark-brown portion of piece in #1.

3) Right-click twice on the triangular piece at the upper right and then drag it over to connect with the rough right edge of the #2 piece.

4) Double-click on the small piece at the right to flip it over and drag it over to connect with the bottom of piece #3.

5) The final piece at the upper left doesn’t connect to the rest of the seed in an obvious way — but it does connect. Right-click three times on it to rotate it to an inverted “T” position. Then drag it down to connect with the bottom of piece #4.

You’ve assembled an incomplete seed — but enough is in place to compare it to the Bureau’s database. Quit the microscope and press the red button at the top to send a picture to the computer  for comparison. Log in to the database and run an  analysis of the seed just as you did earlier with the Jack of Hearts, token and turnpike ticket. No need to select regions this time around. The database will cough up six possible matches. The closest visual match is the right one in the top row, so compare them by dragging our reassembled seed atop this one and left-click.

They match: It’s Eleocharis rufilata. Run a search and you’ll come up with the map of the Louisiana area with the three southern parishes where it appears highlighted with red stripes: Terrebonne, Jefferson and Plaquemines. Click the print icon at the upper right and collect the map from the printer at the left side of the lab. (It looks like another microscope in the full-room view but the closeup incorporates an area off-screen to the left.)

Whichever task you perform, it won’t amount to much by itself. You still need to zero in on your target. (Parry will tell you as much if you bring the map to him now.)

Wrapping paper: Is there something special about it? Seems to be. In closeup, there’s appears to be a watermark of a steamship on one side. You’ll want  to analyze it.

From the left side of the counter, take a fresh pair of rubber gloves. Right-click on the bag that contains the wrapper and then use the gloves on it (or just use the gloves on it twice) to extract the paper.

Scan the document — only the side with the watermark is required — and then run a search. The result: a map with three highlighted parishes where the Louisiana Navigation Company once kept offices. (Two of them are in the same Louisiana communities where the seeds appear: Gretna in Jefferson Parish and Detalion in Terrebonne.) Hit the print icon again and collect the wrapper from the scanner (closing it afterward) and the map from the printer.

Phone call analysis: Drop downstairs to the monitoring room and zoom in twice on the PC at the left. Nicole gives you a pretty emphatic hint here: She says she heard a radio in the background while talking to the killer.

Start by playing this recording of background noise through once so you have a better idea what you’re doing. You’ll hear what might be an airplane or lawnmower, a motorcycle and a range of construction sounds. And at three points — around the 53-second, 1:22 and 1:43 marks — a bit of music.

To focus on the music, you’ll need to strip away the other sounds. This is done by first analyzing the recording to break it down into seven zones in which distinctive noises appear (use the ”Analyze” button) and then removing the extraneous sounds one by one by highlighting the respective zones and hitting “filter.” (You’ll also have to reanalyze the recording after the first two filters are applied to bring up the zones diagram again.)

Once you’ve knocked out zones one, two and three, Nicole says “It couldn’t be better” and suggest you play the recording  through again. Do so. This time, Nicole recognizes a Lafayette radio station. (Nice song, too — sort of rockabilly-meets-country.)

Once you’ve completed all three steps, go see Parry in your office. Now he actually says something useful: A radio station’s useful range is about 60 miles and a circle with a 60-mile radius drawn around Lafayette might help you zero in on the Card Man’s location.

You’ll need something to draw with, so take the marker off Nicole’s desk. It’s right in front of the telephone. (You’d think she’d also need a way to measure distance, too, but Nicole apparently can do this in her head.) Turn on the light in the lower left corner of the big US map above Nicole’s desk, then zoom in on Louisiana, place the two printouts atop the state to give you a frame of reference, use the marker on the top printout and you’re done. The circle includes a sliver of Terrebonne Parish and the sliver includes the community of Detalion. Talk to Parry again and you’re all set.

Odds & ends: Wikipedia reports the typical range of FM signals — commonly used for broadcasting music — is 50 to 100 miles but potentially much farther with high wattage or the proper atmospheric conditions. (

The name “Detalion” is an in-joke. Detalion was a Polish developer co-founded by Lukasz Pisarek — one of the two designers who worked on Cards of Destiny.
October 22

Delation, LA

Talk to the sheriff. (You can’t leave his office until you do.) His only meaningful remark: There’ve been no visitors since Katrina. (He’s either lying or mistaken, but you’re not equipped to contradict him.)

Then step outside and talk to Parry. (You can’t explore the town until you do.) Your partner takes off to retrieve your left-behind laptops and Nicole’s free to head downscreen to the docks.

You’re in the right place: The former steamship company building to the right was the backdrop for the killer’s call to Nicole. Is he still around? Unclear just now. But both Aaron, the old gent sitting outside the bar to the left, and Momma Morton, the lady out on the docks, will allude to a stranger. Momma reports that she just transported a man to a hunting cabin out in the swamps in her airboat.

Talking to Aaron and then Momma gives you something to discuss with the sheriff: Can he give you a lift out to the steamship or the hunting cabin? No, and, more to the point, no. A deputy has the boat and the sheriff is unwilling to take the car without an extra body (Parry) on-hand to push it out of the mud. And besides, he’s up to his ankles in paperwork.

The sheriff leaves the office at this point. You can loot the place — there are four take-able items here — but you don’t yet have a motive for looting it, so let’s hold off for the time being.

This exchange allows you to approach Mama about renting the boat (and collect one more “no”). When Nicole leaves the dock, she’ll get a call from Parry about a missing file. He’s headed back to a bar where they stopped en route to retrieve it while Nicole figures out how to reach the steamer.

And that call, in turn, loosens Aaron’s tongue. Ask him about “Boat,” “Deal” and “Mojo.” If  Nicole recovers his magic charm from the sheriff, he’ll set you up to borrow Momma’s airboat.

Return to the sheriff’s office and check out the cabinet on the left. There’s the Mojo bag behind the glass. The door is locked, but you can remove by hand the right-hand nail that holds the glass in place and, with the scissors from the desk, the glass itself. Left-click on the bag once to take a spiral copper tube and a second time to reclaim Aaron’s Mojo. Now you just have to replace the glass — a simple left-click on the glass to the left of the cabinet in the room view — and you can leave.

See Aaron again. Your immediate reward for return of the Mojo is not airboat, but chicken. Yes, an uncooked chicken — still in its supermarket tray and plastic wrap. Aaron has detailed instructions for feeding it to the spirits, but it’s just fancy talk — the chicken will wind up in a gator’s tummy — so don’t sweat the details.

Once this topic runs its course, Aaron begins to seem a little worse for wear and Momma turns up to look after her brother. Talk to her about “Aaron” and then “Boat” to learn she’s had a change of heart. She’ll lend it to you if you’ll just give the fellow she transported to the cabin a ride back to Delation. (She’ll also provide staggeringly detailed directions that suggest an upcoming action sequence. Don’t bother noting them down. Like a lot of stuff in Cards of Destiny, it’s one big red herring.)

Now for the boat. Return to the dock and board. Nicole observes that the boat appears in good shape but wants to check the rudders. Momma reported earlier that they were sluggish.

Operate the lever to the right of the pilot’s seat and you’ll discover the rudders are not working at all. You can see the rudders themselves through the fan. But how do you get to the mechanism?

It’s behind the metal plate at the front of the seat. Open ‘er up and discover (with a right-click on the hose) that there’s a leak in the hydraulics.

You can left-click on the hose to disconnect its right end, but you’re not yet equipped to make repairs and such supplies as you’ll find aboard the boat aren’t immediately useful. You’ll find a toolbox if you click on the deck just in front of the pilot’s seat. It contains a funnel and brake fluid — but the funnel’s too big for the hose and no hose-patching supplies are included.)

Maybe tape? You have seen tape. When you claimed the scissors from the sheriff’s desk, you probably noticed a roll in the lower left corner. (And while you’re back here, you might as well take the postcard to the right and the map on the wall as well. They’ll soon find uses.)

The repairs aren’t quite as simple as use-tape-on-hole. You’ll have to use the scissors on the tape in inventory to cut off a piece and then use the piece of tape on the hose.

Then left-click on the postcard in inventory to turn it into a funnel. (If you can’t do this, you haven’t yet first tried to use the metal funnel from the toolbox on the tube.) Use the paper funnel on the loose end of the tube and the brake oil can on the funnel and despite obvious issues of gravity, Nicole announces that there’s now enough brake fluid in the steering system. Left-click on the funnel to remove it, on the hose to reattach it and on the rudder lever in the seat view to test your repairs. The boat should take off.

Or not. If Nicole says she doesn’t remember much of Momma’s elaborate directions, you haven’t collected the map from the rear wall of the sheriff’s office. Map in hand, re-board the airboat, use the rudder lever again and you’re off. For all those elaborate directions, it’s just a cut-scene.

The Cabin

You’ll find Nicole on the dock. Move her toward the stairs up to the cabin — the drawbridge to the right is inaccessible for now — and she’ll note the light in the window and urge caution.

As if you had a choice. When you move Nicole up the stairs, you’ll trigger a cut-scene — our girl slowly opening the door and knocking the occupant flat on his back. When the action picks up again, you’ll find a him handcuffed to a pillar on the porch. (No word on what was in the drawer.)

Talk to him. The wealth of specific info suggests this guy is telling the truth — or at least what he understands to be the truth. He’ll identify himself as Arthur Blake, a Pittsburgh writer who, looking for solitude, is interested in buying this shack. He’s here to meet one Turner — a representative of the seller’s agent, a New Orleans outfit called Prescott, Crosby & Moreau — and Turner’s late. Blake refers Nicole to the sheriff to verify the truth of his claim — the same sheriff who says Detalion had no visitors since Katrina — and claims he left the transaction papers in a rented car near the sheriff’s office.

And Turner? “Bald, quite tall … an intriguing look, but calm … Fortyish. Intelligent.”

Funny. Of the people we’ve met, that sounds most like the expert Emmerich, who surfaced out of nowhere in the wake of the railway-crossing murder (and whose promised report still hasn’t surfaced).

What’s next? Your first instinct may be to turn on the lights. Blake dropped into the exchange a request for his notebook from the cabin kitchen. (Oddly enough, the notebook never does surface.) Nicole can poke her head in the door for a glimpse of a shadowy interior and decide it’s too dark to proceed inside. It’ll turn out that the kerosene lamp was extinguished during the tussle. A search for light sources will send you poking around the better-lighted left side of the cabin. Zoom in on the big battery here and you’ll see the power’s been cut: You’ll need to replace a section of the red cable.

You can take a couple of items here — the deck chair and then the boat hook — but to no clear purpose at this time. And in fact you can’t yet take the stretch of copper wire (which we’ll get to in a moment) that will be needed to turn on the juice. Huh! The chair and six-foot boat hook won’t get in your way, but a short bit of coil-able wire apparently will.

So how do you kick things along? Simple: Descend the stairs and head left. The view pulls back and Nicole gets on her cell — first to Parry to have him check out Blake and then to a rather zombie-like Ruth to establish whether the real-estate outfit exists and a Turner works for them.

Move back toward the stairs for a text message: No Prescott et al. doing business in Louisiana. This is followed by a call from Parry: Blake seems legit … and he didn’t lie about talking to the sheriff. He’s beginning to look like another prospective victim and his appointment a trap. A trap that may soon be sprung: An abandoned rental car from New Orleans has been found and it’s not Blake’s.

Talk to Blake. He yaps up a storm and, once uncuffed, supplies details about the scam used to ensnare him. Nicole then proposes (via “Cabin”) hiding in the cabin until Parry arrives.

And now, finally, you can turn on the juice.

We’ve already established the power source — the battery on the left side of the cabin — and the required repair. The copper wire you’ll need is wound around one of the yellow pier footings — the one just across from the airboat’s engine. Take it, left-click on it in inventory to untangle it and create a loop at one end and jet back to the battery. In the closeup view, use the wire on the left electrode to complete the connection and a piece of the sheriff’s tape (snipped off with the scissors as during the boat repairs) on the cable end. Let there be light. Return to the front of the cabin. Nicole automatically talks with Blake about making tea and lighting a fire in the stove and the two step inside.

OK, the fire. The basics are pretty obvious. The old calendar on the side of the fridge in the corner would make good kindling. The tea’s in the left side of cabinet on the right side of the kitchenette. Two tin mugs are on the counter below. The tea kettle’s atop the stove at the right.

What about wood, water and fire? For the first two, you’ll have to go back outside.

When you do (the door is offscreen to the right), you’ll get a call from Parry. They’re bogged down in the mud and Nicole may have to spend the night. And he’s learned that Aaron Morton is the owner of the land and the steamer. He’s already held forth to Nicole on his fantastic plans for the steamer and this just emphasizes that the sale is that much more likely to be a scam.

Wood: You may have spotted an axe around the right side of the house back when the lights were out. Make your way around there now, take the axe behind the stump and use it on the crate atop the stump. There’s your wood. Take it. Back inside, open the stove door and place wood and calendar within.

Fire: Back out of the scene, talk to Blake about “Lighter” and he’ll produce one. Use it on the stove interior and, in no time a blaze is burning merrily.

Water: You’ve seen potable water — that plastic bottle to the right of the battery. Use the kettle on it and then on the stove in closeup.

Um, is this going to boil any time soon? Yes. But, as you’d expect, you’ll have to pull a couple more rabbits out of the hat first. Place the mugs on the stove — huh! I wouldn’t want to pick those up barehanded — and use the tea on each. Then talk to Blake. He blathers on about his amazon/wanderer story for a while and the talk eventually turns to tea — at which point Nicole’s cell phone rings.

Or seems to ring. When Nicole steps outside to take the text message, she realizes it wasn’t her cell. (She does not follow up on this mystery, but this appears to have been a text message from “Turner” to Blake.) When she returns indoors, Blake says the tea is ready. Take the remaining mug from the stove. Nicole immediately begins to feel odd, wanders outside and collapses. When she comes around, she’ll automatically return inside and discover Blake has vanished.

Odds & ends: So Blake sabotaged Nicole? With what? A guy looking for an uncomplicated life in the bayou brings knockout drops with him?

It’s a fair guess that Nicole was knocked out by some prearrangement with (and with drugs provided by) “Turner” and that the signal was the text message. But wouldn’t it have dawned on Blake that this was unconventional behavior for a real-estate agent? Either way, it’s a weak transition.

The Swamp

Step outside again and descend the stairs. Nicole notices that the drawbridge on the right side of the screen is in a lower position that it was earlier and finds (rather too conveniently) Blake’s cell phone on the near side. Two hours earlier, he received an odd text message from “Turner” asking Blake to meet him at the steamboat in an hour. (You can see the steamboat in the background — now all lighted-up.) She alerts Parry, who says he’ll assemble a “special unit.”

Lowering the drawbridge the rest of the way is easy. If you haven’t done so already, grab the deck chair (which doesn’t come into play yet) and then the boat hook on the left side of the porch and use the latter on the bridge.

On the far side, meet the mother of all alligators. Play chicken with it. Left-click on the one Aaron gave you in inventory to remove it from the packaging and then use the chicken on “Wally.” Sated, it backs off and the path is clear.

Paths, actually. In the darkness at the top of the screen, the trail forks. The left one would be a more direct route to the steamboat, but the bridges are broken. And the right one’s not much better. The bridge beyond have also fallen into the drink, but the support posts remain in place and Nicole suggests she could jump between them if she had some light. Drop back one screen and she suggests a refueled kerosene lamp. That’s on the desk back at the cabin.

But how to refuel it? Ah. Remember the post where we found the copper wire?  Well, just to the left is a pool of water with a petroleum slick on the surface. You can cobble together a little homemade refinery to separate the fuel from the water.

Start by collecting some of the raw material: Use the bucket at the right side of the cabin on the pool. Nicole here says the “dark gunk” you’ve collected needs to be purified and heated before it can serve as fuel. The “purified” may ring a bell with you. Aaron used the same word if you asked him about a copper coil retrieved from the bag at the sheriff’s office. Sure enough, that’s a key piece of equipment.

So what is to be the foundation for this refinery? Ultimately, the tea kettle — now fixed in place over the location’s one heat source — but the process actually starts with the big funnel from the airboat toolbox.

And not the funnel alone. You need a strainer to remove the “gunk” element from this brew. The canvas on the deck chair at the left side of the cabin would serve well in this role and, sure enough, when you left-click on the chair in inventory, you’ll be left with just the canvas. Use it on the funnel and then use the scissors on the funnel + canvas to trim the canvas back. (Remember: You’ll be heating this stuff, and it wouldn’t do for the strainer to catch fire.)

Now return to the cabin, install the funnel + trimmed-back canvas atop the tea kettle and fill the funnel (not the kettle proper) with your bucket of undistilled petrol. Nicole then says the fuel will be steamed off as the liquid heats. In other words, you have to capture the steam, turn it back into liquid and provide a receptacle for the fuel.

The copper tube you liberated from the sheriff’s office will serve admirably as a condenser. Just use it on the kettle’s spout. Blake’s left-behind teacup (still on the stove) will do for a container. Just pick it up and replace it on the stove.

And now you just have to seal the container to prevent the loss of steam. Use a piece of tape on the spout and then remove the funnel to replace the lid. The teacup rapidly fills with “crudely purified petroleum.” Use the teacup and then the lighter on the lamp and you have the light source for your swamp crossing.

Return to the right-hand path and you’ll discover one last logistical issue. Where do you put the lamp? For it to be of use in your crossing, it can’t just sit on the near landing. You’ll need to float it somehow. And not just float: You’ll need to elevate the lamp somehow so it illuminates a wider area.

The solution to both these issues is found at the right side of the cabin. Take the basin up against the cabin wall and the can to the right. Then place the basin in the water on the right side of the bridge abutment, then the can on the basin and finally the lamp on the can. Cut-scene of the lamp floating off into the swamp.

And now for the jumping portion of our program. Nicole must leap from post to post to reach the other side. This has some risks. Certain posts — one in this first sequence and perhaps a half-dozen in the second — will come apart when she lands, dumping her into the drink and leaving her to the tender mercies of Wally the Alligator.

Moreover, a clock is running here. When Nicole lands on a post, it immediately starts to descend slowly into the muck and mire until Nicole’s feet are immersed in the water — at which time she’s killed by Wally or one of his brothers. So you’ll need to act quickly and know in advance where you’re going.

Beginning with the post closest to the bridge abutment (the right is too far), you’ll want to jump:

1) atop the first three left-hand posts …

2) … and then switch over to the right one to avoid the collapsing fourth post on the left.

3) This seems to be a dead-end, but Nicole’s landing somehow resurrects a previously-sunken right-hand post. Jump on this one and the one above it.

4) Switch back to the left for the final two posts and the leap to the far abutment.

On the far side, grab the long stick and use it on the floating lamp and haul it back to land and into your inventory as an intact unit. Move off the top of the screen and deposit the lamp platform in the water on the far side.

A more complicated scenario here. The path is more circuitous, you don’t see your destination plainly until you’re past the halfway point and you can now manipulate your environment.

1) As in the first section, you have only one choice at the start. Hop onto the nearest post. Mercifully, it does not sink.

2) However, the second post is rotten and will collapse on contact. There’s a way to prevent this. From your position on the first post, use the long stick to redirect the plank connected to the third post. It pivots to create a bridge and Nicole can simply walk down the plank to the third post.

3) The distance prohibits another leap forward, so hop onto the post to the left and then onto each of the additional two posts that appear out of the muck as you progress. Then jump downscreen onto the middle of the three posts linked by a cross-bar. A stable platform and good place to save your game.

4) Hop two posts to the right. (The post to the left collapses on contact.)

5) From here, you have a variety of possible routes — all but one ending in collapsing posts. Drop down one post and you’ll find submerged posts rising down and to the left. Nicole says she doesn’t know which way to go. Try two posts left and one down.

6) Here, at the edge of the screen, the scene and perspective change. This doesn’t change the overall orientation of the sequence — you’re still headed downscreen and to the right — but it occasionally still throws me off and sends me hopping in the wrong direction. Just be aware of this and don’t get turned around.

You can now see your destination in the lower-right corner of the screen. The post-hopping from here is pretty much pro forma: two down, one left and one down.

7) This places you between the lamp below and to the left and an odd double post above and to the right. You can’t go forward from here. The next post barely appears above water level and a jump here (supposing Nicole were allowed to jump) would presumably result in our girl’s going straight into the water.

However, you can move things around to create a higher platform. Take the lantern and place it on the smaller of the posts to the right and then collect the can and the basin. Use the basin on the little post, then the can, and hop across this makeshift post to terra firma.


Finally, the steamboat. You’ll see the paddlewheel turning. Clearly worth investigating. Cross the gangplank. The ruined deck prevents you have heading aft here, so climb the stairs at the front of the craft to reach the middle deck and then the stairs at the right to reach the upper one. Finally, climb the stairs at the middle of the screen to reach the top deck and make your way right to the stern. You’ll find Blake tied to the paddlewheel. Dead, alive? No telling. But either way you have to stop the wheel.

Nicole suggests the bridge might hold the answer. That’s the lighted cabin on the top deck. It’s locked (though this isn’t expressly stated) and you’ll have to break in. Use the clapper from the broken bell at  the stern to smash the glass.

Within, you’ll find the captain’s hat hanging off the right side of the throttle (partly hidden by Nicole). Take it to collect  a King of Hearts and operate the throttle itself to turn off the engine. Make your way back to the stern. Still no sense of whether Blake survived his ordeal, and the focus now shifts in a new direction: The cops have found a journalist in the area. Does that ring a bell?

October 23

FBI Field Office

The interview room again. The reporter is Jack Rowling — the fellow who was hanging out in the bar near the railroad crossing on Oct. 19 and (you’ll learn shortly) also at the power plant the next day.  (It turns out it was Rowling that Nicole spotted fleeing the plant.)

Too much of a coincidence. He must be in touch with the killer in some continuing fashion. So it seems. At length, Rowling admits he learned about the bar from an email sent from a fake address only to talk to the wrong woman — Patti instead of Nicole — and got bored. He learned about the power plant from a phone call.

But here the interview eventually bogs down. Rowling’s willing to share data from his cell phone about that one power plant-related call but won’t consent to a fishing expedition in his contacts file. And he doesn’t want to have his fingerprints taken at all.

When Nicole leaves the room to get Rowling a soda, she gets a call from Wang: He’s finally lifted the difficult fingerprint off the chip used to shut down the car at the railroad crossing. It’s already on the computer. But you’re going to need something match it against, right?

This will quickly prove a dead end, evidence-wise, but you have to follow through in any case to tie up this loose end and make progress in the game. And there’s a sneaky way to acquire a set of Rowling’s prints. You’re standing right next to a soda machine, so left-click on it to collect a “City Cola” for the reporter. You can deliver this straightaway and then innocently reclaim the can for “recycling” — with its intact set of prints. (If you talk to Parry outside the interview room, you’ll get a nudge in this direction.) Then deliver the can to Wang.

You’ll immediately get a call from Ruth that Nicole’s father has been trying to reach her. Step outside the room and she’ll call him back automatically. (Man, this has to be one of the least interactive adventures  I’ve played.) Turns out her Mom is in the hospital in a diabetic coma. Nicole promises to visit the next day.

Odds & ends: She never does on our watch. And why bother to include this stuff if you’re not going to do anything with it?

And what about Louisiana? It doesn’t come up at all in the interview with Rowling.

Reenter the lab and talk to Wang about “Fingerprints” and “Database access” and you’ll be able to use his computer. Before you log in, Nicole suggests a comparison of the partial fingerprint from the car with one from the can. Just load the two images as you would evidence scans and then drag the partial print atop the full one. The orientation of the partial (it can be rotated like the seed pieces) doesn’t matter: They don’t match.

But you’re not done. The key action here is to run a search on the partial print.

This is interesting. “UAFD07 database: Access denied.”

Talk to Wang and, provided you’ve already run the comparison with Rowling’s prints, he’ll suggest you talk to your boss for access to the military database. Do so (checking with Ruth first) and access kicks in immediately. Run the search on the partial again and you’ll now come up with 10 matches. Compare the partial to the left print in the second row — both have a distinctive “u” shape” at the bottom of the central whorl — and you’ve got a match: a Paul Reed from Norwitch, ME. (Note that while you could drop the partial print anywhere in the prior matching attempt, for this one you have to drop it atop the matching section.)

Leave the lab to find the boss outside. Talk to him to learn Reed was a scientist working on a top-secret military project called “Queen of Hearts”; that the late writer Blake was a juror in Benson’s murder trial under his given name (which will turn out to be Barrymore)  rather than his pen one; and that most people involved with that case are accounted for, but you’re to see Ruth about the judge who presided over that trial.

After the chat, Nicole automatically enters Ruth’s office. You’ll learn that Judge Wolsey from Maine is missing. “Left and didn’t reach his destination. The police are looking for him.”

It’s weird. Ruth offers details, but doesn’t provide them. Perhaps because there are none to provide? Believe it or not, the whole Wolsey bit is a red herring as well. He’ll turn out to be long dead. This is what happens when you send a secretary to do an agent’s job.

One last step: Visit Nicole’s office and talk to Parry about “Fingerprints” to pass along what you’ve learned and get a reminder that the killer asked Nicole to call him “Paul.” When Parry learns that Nicole intends to go to Maine with or without him, he agrees to come along.

October 24

Norwitch, ME

Reed’s not home. Nicole and Parry work out that she’ll hold down the fort here while Parry ventures into town in search of a warrant.

One odd thing: Before he heads out, Parry gets a phone call. He says something about a lens and quickly rings off. When Nicole asks about the call, he says it’s unimportant.

Nicole refuses to approach the house without the warrant, but seem deaf to Parry’s warning that the barn’s no different. A second-story window on the right side is ajar. If you could push the nearby conveyor belt over to the window, you’d be able to look inside.

But wouldn’t you know? The left wheel on this apparatus is stuck in a hole. You need to melt the ice holding it in place and then find a way to raise the wheel.

The ice is easy. Left of the barn entrance is an old stove. In the right-hand side of the oven is a bag of road salt and a bar of soap. Take both, use the salt on the ice and it’s gone just like that.

Now to raise the wheel. Don’t focus on the wheel itself but the metal framework (“bottom structure”) to the right. The key item is the mattress slung over the fence to the left of the mailbox at the starting location. Examine it in inventory to learn that’s  “mattress” as in “air mattress.”. Place this on the grassy spot (”hard ground”) within the metal frame to the right of the wheel.

You’ll eventually pump it up by using the pump atop the stove, but hold off on that for the moment. (If you’ve already pumped it up, let the air out again by left-clicking on the valve in the mattress’s lower right corner.) You’ll need to first place a hard surface atop the mattress and under the “bottom structure” so the inflating mattress will lever the wheel out of the hole — and an ideal candidate is the board to the left of the stuck wheel. With this board in position atop the mattress, use the pump on the mattress valve and the wheel rises from the rut.

But, alas, the conveyor does not slide down the board and a nudge elicits the intelligence that there’s too much friction. You’ll need to grease the board with the soap and then give the conveyor a little push. It rolls up against the barn and you’ll be able to peer through the open window into Reed’s workshop.

From the top of the belt, Nicole see a load of evidence that would seem to satisfy the “probable cause” required for a warrant — notably, what appears to be a laser junction box like the ones from the power plant, But she’ll have to move in for a closeup of the worktable to trigger the (optional) cut-scene memories linked to four components: left clicks on either of the projector elements (at the top and left), either of the laser casings (at the left and under the table), the box at the right and the circuit wafer at bottom-center.

However, you can’t take anything. The only required action is sorting out a small puzzle to summon the elevator to the barn’s top floor. To start, just left-click on the panel to the right of the elevator door. It’s very much in the manner of  IQ tests and. most of the time, beyond easy. The three images to the left represent a sequence. You’ll have to use the dial at the right to select the appropriate fourth image in the sequence. Most of the puzzles are simple rotations while two offer slightly more complex changes:
After each round, press the oblong button below. A green light indicates you’ve chosen correctly and three greens opens the elevator door. (“Is the Card Man waiting for me upstairs?” asks Nicole.) A wrong answer at any point resets the puzzle and you’ll have to start over.

No one’s here. Just more gear. You can inspect the diagrams  on both walls. (These include plans for a device you haven’t seen yet “A fan?” asks Nicole. “A propeller?” This turns up in the endgame.) But the only thing you have to do is hop back on the elevator by exiting off the bottom of the screen.

And here you’ll meet Reed and his shotgun-toting sister Fan. Over a long and occasionally bewildering conversation, it’ll develop that Reed is the killer’s well-paid outside contractor — building equipment required for the Card Man’s dark schemes without foreknowledge of how it would be used. (Whether Reed had suspicions, or should have had suspicions, isn’t explored.)

Reed doesn’t provide any direct evidence in this interview. He never met his employer — everything has handled through the mail — and payments for the eight or nine jobs always came from a different city.

The conversation eventually turns to the accident that put him in a wheelchair — a result of Reed’s participation in a banned experiment related to the secret “Queen of Hearts” project — and here it quickly yields four interesting bits of info.

1) Reed’s pal Peter Douglas was imprisoned for five years over the mishap.

2) Parry, who passed the brother and sister on his way into town, looks like someone who once worked for the local police.

3) Around that time, a wife-beating womanizer named Derek Finney was strangled in the church tower by a rope tightened by the clock mechanism.

4) Finney’s wife has since moved away, but her pastor father remains in Norwitch.

When the chat ends, you’ll find Nicole outside the barn. Move her toward the car. She’ll call Parry with an update. He’s getting a bite to eat. Nicole’s going to talk to the pastor.

The Church

Enter the church gate. You’ll find Pastor Simon outside. Nicole talks to him automatically — “automatic” is very big in this game — and gets three useful nuggets. Finney was a member of the Benson jury and the pastor suspects he played a key role in the verdict. He’s buried in the graveyard here. And though the murder occurred six years earlier, the church tower might still be worth inspecting. The pastor mention letters that Finney scratched into the floor

You’ll need to complete two tasks here and can perform them in either order.

Locate Finney’s grave. From the pastor, head left to the graveyard. It’s the first stone on the near side of the central path. Zoom in on the location and then the grave and you’ll see someone’s inscribed a 2 of Hearts here. Talk to the pastor again. He doesn’t know the source but says it appeared a year after the funeral. The Card Man’s first victim, it would seem.

Explore the tower. Enter the church and you’ll kick off a call from the Card Man. He identifies Blake as Barrymore and says he’s “preparing a new card. Hurry up.” Nicole asks for a hint. To Which TCM says, “There are plenty around you,”

That’s as far as you go — both in conversation and in the church. (The gates upscreen and the door to the left are locked.)

Retreat to the pastor and talk to him again. He’ll supply the key to the tower. Use the key on the left door and enter. You’ll find the darkness upstairs oppressive. (You can look around in a minimal way, but can’t do anything.) Retreat to the pastor again and ask about the lighting. The pastor just happens to carry around a flashlight and it’s yours for the asking.

In the tower, zoom in on the far left corner (“dark corner”) and plug the lights back in. Then have a look at the floorboard in front of the cabinet. This is where Father Simon had the boards replaced after Finney’s murder and one is loose. You can’t pull it up barehanded — is the pastor also carrying a claw hammer? — but you’ll be able to pull out the two nails and then lever out the board with the peculiar wrench (“lever”) hanging on the near right corner.

What you can’t do is clear up the dust below. (“I’m not getting my hands dirty,” says Nicole.) However, down in the vestibule, you’ll find a brush on the prayer desk (“prie-dieu”) to the right. This works fine. You’ll find some marks — “D P” — carved with a nail. (The pastor reported that Finney had a nail in his hand when he was found.) Is this a clue to his killer? Do we know a DP?

Well, yeah, there’s Dick Parry. (Nicole starts wondering about this on her return to the vestibule.) And the Reeds did suggest that Parry looked like a former Norwitch policeman.

But after positing Nicole’s boss Chaser as a serial killer in FBI Confidential, the designers of Cards of Destiny surely can’t be suggesting the FBI is home to a second criminal?

Actually, they are.

Get back to the pastor to return the flashlight and see what else he knows about Finney’s death. You’ll learn Finney was still alive when discovered by a police officer. The officer was ultimately cleared in the death, but there’s a lingering suspicion that he allowed Finney to die. (After all, it was the same officer who’d been trying to protect the pastor’s daughter from abusive husband Finney.) The officer: Dick Parry.

That wraps up your business here. Nicole’s just reached the car when she gets a call from Ruth. She’ll connect Parry with Maine and report that the bureau has received another parcel from the Card Man. This one also detonated on its own and Wang found in the remains pieces of a Fresnel lens — a type used in lighthouses,That’ll make you think back to Parry’s “unimportant” phone call. He’s clearly withholding information from you and must be considered a potential accomplice in Finney’s death. At the very least, he has a lot of explaining to do.

The Courthouse

You’ll find Nicole outside the courthouse. That’s Parry’s vehicle over to the right. Walk up to the door to find it locked but light coming from a doorway to the light. (Also, unmentioned, evidence of unlawful entry via the window at the rear.) Go around the right side of the building. You’ll find the middle window slightly ajar. Nicole can’t reach it unassisted and the only potential ladder in reach (the sign) is chained to the lamppost.

Not a great mystery: The only potential tool for breaking the chain is the shovel handle (once again called a “spade”) in the trash can in the foreground out front. Take the handle, return to the back of the courthouse, zoom in on the base of the lamppost and use the handle on the chain. It snaps and the sign is yours. Place this below the middle window, climb inside, enter the doorway on the left and move right to find Parry.

Nicole talks to him automatically. Parry’s claims to be working on a lead about Reed’s pal Peter Douglas: He apparently shared a cell with everyone’s favorite security guard Archie Benson before he was released in 2002. Parry thinks Reed was working for Douglas. Evidently blind to her own warrantless search of the Reed barn, Nicole challenges Parry’s acting “in secret and on your own.” Parry offers the excuse of expediency — the missing Judge Wolsey — but things quickly deteriorate from there. When Nicole moves to cuff Parry, he throws her down and takes off. In the pursuit that follows, his car crashes. Before Parry dies, he discloses that Douglas was blackmailing him and provides a location: “light on the shore.” (Oy. Wouldn’t it have been easier for the dying man to just say “lighthouse?”)

The “Outhouse”

Move toward the small structure near the cliff’s edge.

It’s a little hard to see from your starting location, but there is a ready way across the channel: the cable car just to the left of the building.

Naturally, it doesn’t work. Nothing works in adventure games. Imagine what it would be like to live in such a world of eternally deferred maintenance. It’s a wonder all the heroes and villains don’t just spontaneously kill themselves.

What’s wrong with it? Enter the shed and have a look. Clearly, the engine is missing some parts. And though you’ll learn this only  after you’re deep into the repairs, it’s also out of fuel.

You can handle the four required tasks in any order. I’ve put the starter first because, once it has been assembled, unsuccessful attempts to start up the engine will be rewarded with info on the bits that are still missing.

Starter: Think old, pull-cord lawnmowers. The cord here is the belt behind the jacket hanging on the left wall. You just need a place to install it.

However, you’ll need to lay the groundwork first.

Take the wingnut off the lower left corner of the engine and the flywheel at its upper right corner. Zoom in on the engine, install the wheel and then the nut on the axle and wrap the belt around the flywheel’s inner ring (i.e. just above the nut). Left-click on the belt to try and start the engine.

Depending on what else you’ve done, you’ll get one of a range of responses. The clutch is missing. The cylinder head is cold. The engine’s out of gas.

If you’ve already remedied all of these, the engine roars to life … and, quite honestly, like the haunted-house ride back in Jersey. the cable car should be off and running without Nicole onboard.

However, that wouldn’t do, so the designers cheat a little here in your behalf: The car stays put until you figure out a way to operate the clutch remotely. (See below.)

Clutch:  If you move behind the outhouse to inspect the cable car, you’ll see a fuel tank to the left of the structure. Zoom in on it and you’ll see a lever leaning again the right front support. Take it. That’s your clutch.

Back inside, zoom in on the engine and again on its right side. The hole for the clutch is now at the bottom center of the screen. Just pop the lever in there.

You’re not quite done. The clutch allows the engine to engage and disengage from the cable that drives the car. With the handle at the top of the clutch in its current “out” position, it’s engaged. You’ll want to find a way to keep the handle compressed until Nicole’s ready to travel.

In the outhouse’s upper right corner is a reel of fishing line. Grab it and left-click on it in inventory to lose the reel. Use the fishing line on the clutch to tie down the handle and thread the remaining line through a hole at the back of the outhouse. (If you walk around back, you’ll see it ends at a spot near the cable car.) Presumably, this line is now taut and Nicole lets it go slack when she finally boards the car.

Cylinder head: Tricky until you remove and inspect the “shank” in the hole atop the cylinder head. When you right-click on it, Nicole offers that the bent metal pipe is used to heat up the cylinder head. Essentially, it’s the sparkplug.

What’s missing is the spark.

You’ll need the moldy blue jacket hanging on the left wall. Right-click on it in inventory to learn “the pockets look stuffed.”

In this closeup, you’ll find a pack of “MarlonBoro” cigarettes in the left one (“Extremaly Gold” [sic]) and a box of matches in the right. In the closeup view of the pack, left-click on the cigarette tips at the top to extract one, then use the matches on the tobacco end and, finally, insert the lit ciggie into the open lower-left end of the shank and replace the shank in the cylinder-head hole.

Fuel: Remember the fuel tank outside? Is it full or empty? You can’t really tell from the valve. Right-click, left-click — all you know is that the faucet isn’t leaking.

If you haven’t claimed the lever beside the right front support — this is your clutch (see above) — take it now and then the rock beneath the support. The tank tilts. The fuel presumably gathers at the near end and the faucet now leaks. You can now collect fuel — provided you have a suitable container.

There’s a semi-suitable container behind the oar in the outhouse’s left near corner. And why just “semi”? Because it has a big old hole, that’s why!

Can you plug the hole? Yeah, but, like every other damn thing in this place, it’s going to take some work. The cap on the fuel tank for the cable-car engine — in the lower right corner of the engine closeup — is a perfect fit. Unfortunately, it’s been screwed tightly in place and you’ll need a special tool to remove it. And, unfortunately, that special tool has fallen through a crack in the floorboards to the right of the engine. You can’t reach it without another tool and that one you’ll have to cobble together yourself.

Oy and oy again.

This tool consists of two parts: the larger section of the broken front board of the bench at the right side of the room and the hook on the left wall that holds the jacket and belt. If necessary, remove the jacket, belt and hook, screw the hook into the board, use the board + hook retrieve the wrench from the crack, use the wrench to loosen the fuel cap, remove the cap by hand and fit it to the hole in the metal cover. Now place the plugged cover on the ground below the fuel-tank faucet and turn the valve. The remaining fuel drains into the cover. Retrieve the cover and, in the closeup view, pour the contents into the engine’s fuel tank. Right-click on the cover in inventory, rotate it to display its underside, remove the cap and replace it on the fuel tank.

One you’ve completed all of the above, left-click on the belt wound around the flywheel to start the engine and board the cable car. Nicole automatically loosens the fishing line to engage the clutch and off you go. She’s most of the way across when something goes wrong up top and car and passenger plunge into the ocean. Nicole surfaces beside the lighthouse.

The Lighthouse

Endgame. Does it seem we’ve hit it kind of early?

Climb the stairs and hop across the platforms to the left, bayou-style. Head left and climb the stairs to find the entrance locked. What can be done?

Well, there is that  the ladder down below. If you could raise it to a position beside the door, it’d allow Nicole to reach the roof. Alas, it’s too heavy to carry up the stairs. but maybe you could hoist it up using the cable hanging to the right of the door.

Sure enough, a hook can be found at the cable’s left end — this is visible in the closeup view of the left end of the ladder — and with a click you can slip this around the ladder’s leftmost rung. However, the other end of the cable’s has been slung onto an inaccessible ledge and you’ll have to knock it down.

Simply take the oar from the patrol boat suspended outside the locked door and use it on the cable at this location. The far end falls onto the platform atop the entry stairs. Retrace your steps and jumps to the lower platform and hook the cable’s left end to ladder and the right to the WWII-era mine. (That’s your counter-weight.) Now you just need something to pry the mine off the edge of the platform.

And wouldn’t you know? When to click on the cable, connecting it to the mine, a pry bar arrives on the scene: A beam falls down from above. Take it — it’s just to the right of the ladder — and, in the closeup view of the mine, use the beam on the mine to put it in position. Then left-click on the beam’s left end to roll the mine off the platform. As the mine drops down, the ladder is pulled skyward — stopping just right of the locked door at the top of the stairs. Now Nicole can climb to the roof …

… to no clear purpose at first. The lighthouse to the left is locked, the embedded rungs of the ladder to the right of the lighthouse door are too rusty to risk and the central hatch to the storeroom (atop the ladder to the right of Nicole’s starting location) is far too heavy to lift.

But there is that crane. If it can lower the patrol boat into the water, it should be able to raise the steel hatch. Move left and down, zoom in on the control panel, take the joker inserted at the top and press the green button to start ‘er up.

They’ve made it pretty easy for you. At any given time, no more than two of the four control knobs will be working (i.e. displaying a constant green light), so you can only screw up so badly.

1) Press the left of the two up/down knobs up once to raise the crane.

2) Press the upper of the two left/right knobs left twice to rotate the crane so it’s pointing toward the hatch.

3) Press the lower of the left/right knobs left once to extend the crane out over the hatch.

4) Press the right of the up/down knobs down twice to the lower the hook.

5) Now back out of the control panel, make your way up the ladder to the hatch and click on the crane hook to connect it to the hatch handle.

6) Finally, back at the panel, turn the crane on again and push the right of the up/down knobs up twice to open the hatch.

Climb the ladder to the hatch again. Nicole automatically drops down into the storage room for a face-off with Archie Benson. He reveals that Wolsey’s long dead, that the jury members on his case were hypocrites — feigning moral superiority in court but just as greedy as the next guy when it came to taking his father’s bribes (with Finney as conduit) — and that he did in fact kill the card reader.

It’s may not be clear at first why Benson takes so long to shoot after he tells Nicole to “say hello to Hoover for me.” But watch carefully. He does pull the trigger. (It’ll turn out his gun’s empty.)

Nicole does fire. Benson’s dead. And Nicole appears to be trapped. The lone door is locked and the duct below the grate in the floor to the left appears inaccessible.

Forget the door for now. You’ll have to open it from the other side and the duct’s your way to get there. Two problems: The grate on top won’t open. And the duct is full of water.

The grate shouldn’t be a big obstacle. This place is packed with tools. There’s a big wrench to the left of Benson’s body, a small one under the bucket at the near end of the boat-storage area to the right and a medium-sized one (and maybe a saw blade; see below) in the toolbox to the right of the door. Granted, the handle doesn’t appear wrench-friendly, but who says tools need to be appropriate to their targets? Use any of the three wrenches on the handle in the close-up view to raise the grate.

Now for the water in the duct below. The pump is controlled by the panel to the right of the door. Use the saw blade from the toolbox on either of the two screws to open it. You’ll notice that three wires at the top have been disconnected from their terminals.

Note that it does matter which screw you unscrew. If the top screw, the bottom screw stays in place, the cover remains semi-attached to the panel. If the bottom screw or both, the cover is added to your inventory, where it can be rotated to display a diagram that displays the proper connections — from left to right: blue, red and black.

Odds & ends: A curiosity — or maybe just a bug: If you haven’t taken the saw blade from the toolbox, it magically appears in your inventory and vanishes from the toolbox when you zoom in on the panel.

Once the wires are hooked up properly, simply press the switch beneath the panel. The duct drains and Nicole can hop down inside to discover the passage is now blocked by the three fans of an “impeller.” (You saw a bit of this back at Reed’s lab.)

The object here is to use the three wrenches on the central axle to adjust the blades so Nicole can slip beneath. In other words, the three blades of each of  the three fans must be lined up with each other so they point only to the sides and up.

The darkness and limited visibility are the main issues here. The puzzle itself  is much easier than it may look, and I’ve finished it in as few as four moves. You just need to understand how the wrenches operate the fans.

Wrench      Turned                       Results in …
Small          Clockwise                  First (front) and second (middle) fans turning clockwise
Small          Counter-clockwise    First and third (rear) fans turning counter-clockwise
Medium      Clockwise                  Second and third fans clockwise
Medium      Counter-clockwise     First and third fans turning counter-clockwise
Big              Clockwise                  Third fan turning clockwise
Big              Counter-clockwise     Second and third fans turning counter-clockwise

Note that five of the six possible moves each adjust more than one fan.

But if you turn the big wrench clockwise, only the third fan moves. This exception to the rule has be important. What might you do with this information?

Simple: This sets up the big wrench to serve in the role of socket wrench. Have you ever used one of these to turn a bolt in a constricted space? The principle here is not dissimilar.

The three steps below should work regardless of the random arrangement of the fans in your game.

1) Second (middle) fan: Use the big wrench on the impeller axle, turn it counter-clockwise and the second and third fans will turn counter-clockwise. That’s as far in that direction as the big wrench will go — try it again and Nicole says, “No, that’s not right …” — so turn it back clockwise and the third fan returns to its original position. But the second remains where it is. And by repeating this process as needed — i.e. using the wrench on the axle again and turning it counter-clockwise and then clockwise — you can ratchet the second fan into position. (If the second fan is already in position, skip to step #2.)

2) First (front) fan: Use either the small or medium wrench on the impeller axle, turn it counter-clockwise and then use the big wrench on the axle and turn it clockwise. Repeat the process until the first fan is set up properly. (If this is already in position, s

3) Third (rear) fan: As noted earlier, this fan can be moved independently of the other two using the big wrench. But suppose that single move fails to bring the fan to its final position?

At that case, jigger the small wrench clockwise and counter-clockwise to ratchet the third fan into position. The first fan won’t sacrifice its overall position, but this process will push the second fan out of alignment — so simply repeat step #1 to restore the second fan to its position.

Once everything’s properly lined up, send Nicole under the blades to a small platform. The grate above doesn’t require any wrenchwork to open, but this platform is somewhat lower than the duct and Nicole can’t reach it from this position. She needs something to stand on. Left-click on the bucket in inventory to remove the handle, use the bucket on the platform and zoom in on the grate. You’ll lift it and see you’re below the room on the far side of the door.

For some unstated reason, the otherwise-limber Nicole can’t climb out here, but you can cobble together a final gadget to unlock the door. Retreat down the duct to the other side of the door. Take the push-broom to the left of Benson’s body, left-click on it in inventory  to reduce it to just the handle, left-click on  the detached handle to form a metal loop and finally use the loop on the broom handle to produce a “stick with wire.”

Reenter the duct. On the far side of the door, use the stick with wire on the door to put it in position and then left-click on the stick -twice- to unlock the door. (Nicole will say, “The door’s opened!”) Retrace your steps to the storage room, open the door and climb the spiral stairs within.

Yeah, yeah, it’s the “expert” from back at the beginning of the game. Was even anybody remotely surprised by this? He goes through the usual end-game disclosures. The judge Wolsey is indeed long dead. The missing man must be his son, and he’s probably just visiting his girlfriend. (How exactly did the FBI screw up this basic piece of information?) Douglas is pretty much crazy. (“I am God here, the master of life and death.”) Benson, Reed and Rowling are not accomplices “as the law defines it.” He received the most help from the greedy victims. Nicole is the Joker. Douglas used her to kill Benson (who had an empty gun). He sees himself as being acquitted on the strength of his video recordings of Nicole in the storage room. And he did blackmail Parry after watching him permit Finney’s death.

And his motives are, shall we say, obscure. Douglas feels he deserved imprisonment for crippling Reed. But what he learned from cellmate Benson about Benson’s father’s bribing the jurors in the murder trial seems to have precipitated some kind of crisis and he decided to punish the jurors for their “base wishes.”

His spiel complete, Douglas makes a break for the stairs. He’s shot by Nicole (now, was that really necessary?), falls through the window and plunges into the churning sea. The FBI choppers show up (presumably summoned after Parry’s crash), the scene fades to black and an evidently disillusioned Nicole gets the last word: “Nick, you still got that job for me?”

Odds & ends: If Nicole performs certain actions in the storeroom — either trying the door or opening the grate and then backing out of the close-up — the view changes to a monitor at the top of the lighthouse and Douglas taunts her.

And something doesn’t quite track. Douglas tells Nicole he watched Parry allow Finney to die from a position inside the cabinet at the top of the church tower. How? You’ve seen that cabinet. Only the top part opens, and it’s full of machinery — and Douglas is a big guy!


Peter Olafson

Peter Olafson

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