Play mode: Ghost (success)
Perfect Thief (failed, but very close)
Time: 4 hr 30 min
Loot: 3858 of 3958
Pockets picked: 11 of 14
Backstabs: 0 Knockouts: 1
Damage dealt: 1 Taken: 0 Healing: 0
Secrets: 1 of 1
The one knockout (thus one damage-dealt point) was per objective, to capture L'Arsene without killing him. That doesn't seem to leave much option
This write up is very long (over 18,000 characters). Read at your own risk!
I am still totally amazed that this FM is ghostable. I played it once before, attempting to ghost... but I blew it in the Ambush room and thought it was unghostable.
But then Old Man mentioned that that room could be ghosted by hugging the left wall (see below), and I got to thinking: how about the other two really bad stretches? If they could be ghosted, the entire mission was ghostable.
I still had the savegames from my (non-ghost) game, so I found a save near the really, really bad one (the Admiral). After a lot of fumfahing around -- oops, sorry, taffing
around (fell out of character there!) -- I figured out how to ghost it. Then I started, figuring I would have to suss the middle Bad Stretch when I got to it.
With brilliant play and some breathtaking luck, I managed; so here we go!
There are three Bad Stretchs in L'Arsene. The rest of the mission is bad, with too much light and too many guards, but it's ghostable with a little running here and there (when nobody is nearby to notice).
The first Bad Stretch is what I call the Ambush room; if you've played the mission, you know exactly which one I mean. You are in a zig-zag dark tunnel that leads from the locked gate where Lantern Guard patrols to another gate you can open by a lever on the left-hand side of it; at either end of your dark tunnel is a half-gate you can walk around. Exiting the dark tunnel on the openable-gate side and hooking around to the right, you see a low door near an "X" made from masking tape... this is the sign of L'Arsene, and wherever he leaves it there is something you need to investigate.
Open this low door and crouch-run through it. The low passage leads to a little courtyard with a door. Through the door is a wooden hallway that leads to a stairway going down into a very
brightly lit room. This is the Ambush room.
L'Arsene Lupin has set three thieves here to bushwack you. You will eventually leave the way you came in, but there is a key you need in the Ambush room, so you cannot bypass it.
One of the thieves is directly beneath the stairs you would descend; the second is in the doorway on your right immediately at the bottom of the stairs; and the third is on your left, in the far left corner of the room, behind the illusion of a painting leaning against the wall.
If you start down the stairs, a gate will fall shut behind you, blocking retreat; you must avoid this
at all costs! If that gate falls, your ghost is toast: the only way to raise it is to move through the Ambush room into the rooms beyond, and you cannot do this without alerting the thieves.
Old Man discovered that the gate does not fall until you get to the first or second step down; while you're on the landing, the gate stays put. I slid off the landing to the left, landing carefully on the wooden floor. The thief under the stairs said "Hey!", but that was his first alert, and he didn't to go second alert. After crouching there for a few seconds, giving him time to recover, I crept forward hugging the left wall. There was some rubble in my path, but I was able to stand and run over it without making much noise.
I was too far away to be seen by the thief in the doorway to the right of the bottom of the stairs, and the other two had bad angles. I could hear that the gate did not lower. I crept forward until I could lean and reach the key, which is on a table (with a healing potion, big whoop) in the lower left corner. I returned as I came to the stairs.
I plugged a rope arrow into the landing above me and climbed up. Old Man had warned that it was a real pig trying to mantle onto the landing. After a couple of failed attempts, I was able to do it by steering about two points larboard (left) of the top door. I was worried this might put me far enough down the stairs that I triggered the gate, but it stayed up. I retrieved my arrow and high-tailed it out of there. End of Bad Stretch number one.
It's possible there is some minor loot in the back rooms; I don't recall from my non-ghost tour, but I'll check a loot list. If there is, that would of course mean that Perfect Thief is impossible in this FM. I'll try to let y'all know.
Finally, after a commodious vicus of recirculation, leaving the odd rope arrow here and there (you get a lot), I arrived at the police station. The only way to ghost the police station is to go all the way around the left side of it (over the bridge, on the street parallel to the street of the station itself), turn right, and go all the way to the streetlamp at the dead end. There is a frobbable window beneath a wooden overhang. You know what to do.
Once inside (the Autopsy room, oddly enough), you need to exit to the corridor and move clockwise around the atrium to the door in the far left corner (passing a locked office on the way); inside this door is a key which opens the locked office you passed that was just to the left of where you entered the corridor from the Autopsy room.
Once inside the locked office, you notice some loose boards on the floor. A sign warns you about loose boards on the floor. Hm... I think someone is trying to tell us something!
Mantle over the desk to the other side and crouch-walk gingerly onto the floorboards where the two join. You will drop through onto a desk in the office one floor below. (You must mantle over the second-floor desk above because if you drop through in front of it, you will land on the floor and take a point of damage.)
From here, you can creep out the office, turn left, and without being seen by the guards, enter the corridor that leads to the main second floor. The patrolling Hammerite carries the key you need to exit via the back door.
Note: Do not forget
to frob the bag that's hanging in the storage area in the main second floor! You pick up a bunch of equipment you need... including a critical invisibility potion.
The next Bad Stretch comes a little later, when you must burgle L'Arsene's rooms at Chez Serge (again for a key, but also to collect the loot and equipment he stole from you, which is an objective).
Chez Serge is an L-shaped inn in its own courtyard, with the long part running east-west and the short part at the left edge. There are two guards, one at each door; each guard stands below a very bright Klieg light over the respective door.
I tried a dozen times to sneak to either of the two doors without success; there was simply too much light, and the guard at the other door would always see me.
Then I left the courtyard into some shadow to contemplate the situation. I was now in the street south (I think) of the inn courtyard, staring at a doorless building or thick wall that screened Chez Serge from the street. Then I noticed there was a hole on the second story of this wall-building... and the butt end of a wooden beam sticking out above it.
I roped up into the hole, leaving my rope arrow there, and followed the passageway left. It led eventually to a trap door into the roof of Chez Serge!
I was able to get in and blackbag L'Arsene's quarters, in which a couple of guards had been slain; I grabbed the key to the Abandoned Section of town, grabbed my stuff from the door that you open via a switch behind the bed, and roped back out the trap door. I returned to my rope arrow and slid part way down, grabbing my arrow and dropping, undetected, to the street. Bad Stretch two was down.
If you run down the street, keeping Chez Serge on your left, you will come to a tiny, dark alleyway on your left. This will take you back into the inn courtyard, but along the right edge. Go all the way north; the inn is on your left, and the gate you need to open with the key you just retrieved from L'Arsene's room is on your right.
This brings you to the real bear: the Admiral set piece.
To ghost this requires three
rope arrows, though you can retrieve one and sometimes two; you will leave either one or two rope arrows behind, so plan accordingly.
Here is the setup: You enter through a door, pass through another couple of doors (when you open the second, you hear retreating footsteps), and end up in a warehouse. The only way to continue is to climb to the rafters and crawl through a hole. The hole leads to a tunnel, which brings you to another room in the warehouse.
Garrett will exclaim that he lost the trail. The only way forward is a long corridor with two glowing mushrooms, leading into blackness.
If you walk along this corridor in the normal course of play, just after you pass the first mushroom, a thief spawns
immediately behind you (I backed through the corridor to check this... he just winks into existence). You run; he chases you; past the second mushroom, the thief hot on your heels, you suddenly plummet through a hole, dropping about thirty-five feet into a pool of water.
You have been chased into another trap: in this room is a zombie-like creature called the Admiral.
The admiral walks like a zombie, and like a zombie cannot be knocked out. But he talks like a demented, despairing prisoner. A note from L'Arsene stabbed to a wall informs you that you are stuck here for all eternity.
Three problems here from a ghosting standpoint:
1) When the thief materializes behind you, he alerts; you're busted.
2) When you fall through the hole into the water, the Admiral alerts; busted again.
3) The only way out of the trap is to shoot a button high up a wall in a room with a giant spider. The sound of a broadhead striking the button alerts the Admiral and the spider. Three strikes, and you're going down.
I How to get past the spawning thief
Remember that invisibility potion from the bag in the Police Station? Now's the time to use it. Face down the corridor, quaff the potion, and run along it. The thief will materialize behind you, but he never sees you; by the time the potion wears off, you are in the dark section at the end of the corridor. Look back; he's just standing there like a big, dumb baboon. But be careful not to run too far... you don't want to fall down the hole, because that will absolutely alert the Admiral.
II You're at the hole... now what?
Creep as close to the hole as possible without toppling over. You are facing west, and the hole is a square about six by six. The hole itself runs down about fifteen feet before opening into the ceiling of the Admiral's prison.
The sides of the hole are dirt, and they will take a rope arrow. Or in this case, three
rope arrows. (1) Plant the first arrow about four feet down from the top and directly in front of you, in the middle of the west wall. (2) Plant the second rope arrow a little further down, but not past the halfway point, on the north (right hand) wall, but closer to the west wall. You may have to turn north and lean left to do this; you definitely have to lean to plant the third arrow. (3) Plant the third rope arrow on the same (north) wall as the second, but in the very bottom right corner -- that is, closest to the east wall and just barely high enough that it will stick. This last arrow is the most critical.
Turn back west, toward the back wall of the hole, and just crouch-run off the edge. (Garrett will scream; don't worry about it, it's scripted to scare the bejesus out of you when, in normal play, the thief chases you.) When you catch hold of arrow (1), downclimb a little, then turn and jump to arrow (2) -- Garrett will scream again... geeze, what a big baby!
You can upclimb a bit here and snag arrow (1). Then downclimb. When you get to the bottom of the hole, just above the ceiling into the Admiral's room, slow down; if he sees you well enough, even on the rope, he will alert. But you are on the north wall... and that means you are at the extreme of his peripheral vision.
Continue downclimbing on arrow (2) until you clear the ceiling. As soon as you can, rotate around 180 degrees; you are now even more to the Admiral's side, and he cannot see you from here. But if you climb until you drop off the arrow, you will land too hard and alert him by sound.
That's where arrow (3) comes into play. Downclimb some more on arrow (2), then jump from (2) to (3) (you probably want to save before trying this; it's tricky, and you can miss the rope and land hard). (Once you're safely on (3), you can climb up and see if you can retrieve arrow (2) -- sometimes you can, sometimes you can't. But it's not really necessary; there are plenty of rope arrows.)
Rotate around (3) until you are facing south (the Admiral is now on your right). You are in light, but don't worry; he cannot see you. The spider might first alert, but that should be about it. Climb slowly down until you fall off the bottom of the rope. You should land quietly on the ground right next to the water you would ordinarily have fallen into. Congratulations, you're now stuck with the Admiral. But at least you didn't alert him!
III All right, I'm in with the Admiral... now
Take out the torch with a water arrow and take a deep breath; the worst is behind you. Creep towards the Admiral, right along the edge of the water; you should be in total darkness. The Admiral is behind some rocks west of where you landed; you must pass right in front of him to get to the place where you can hit the button and open the gate to let yourself out.
Creep right across the front of the Admiral's rocks; he's blubbering and making noises like Jim Backus as Mr. Magoo. If you pass in front of him right next to the front of his rocks, then angle slightly right towards the "stairstep" rocks, you will remain in near total darkness, and he won't notice you much. Once you reach the stairstep rocks, you are around on the Admiral's right side, and he can't see you even if you're in light. (If he takes a step, you're busted; that's his second alert. If he just keeps raising and lowering his arms, you're cool.)
Save; it's easy to misstep, and if you land, the Admiral will alert. Point west and mantle up the first rock. When you're sure you're clean, stand and run up the next two. If you're careful, you'll end up on the top rock without any alerts.
Jump-mantle up west (same direction you've been going); this puts you on top of a shelf. You have to get across the gap east... but if you jump, you'll probably land hard enough to alert the Admiral. So instead, just run east, pressing the jump key after
you start to drop; you will then mantle silently up the other side. There is a crack before you; but again, if you jump through it, you will make noise. So instead, run up the arete just left of it, then turn right and run through the crack.
Crouch walk ahead and to the left, avoiding the small hole, until you come to the overlook into the Big Spider room. The button is very hard to see... but it's in the middle of the far wall, directly in front of you, about two-thirds of the way up. Use your zoom vision to locate it.
Here is the trick: if you hit it square, you can activate the button with a water arrow! The spider will squeal, but it's just a first alert. Save beforehand, because if you don't hit square, you'll waste a water arrow. You'll know if you got it because you can faintly hear the gate rolling aside in the distance (and clanging, which doesn't alert anyone).
Once you've opened it, go back the way you came; do not drop into the Big Spider room because you'll take damage and you'll have to slay the spider. At the crack, go ahead and jump through -- but aim for the sloping wall to the right beyond the crack; you'll hit it and slide down without noise. Crouch and simply drop to the top rock of the stairstep rocks, then make your way down toward the Admiral.
Crouch-walk back exactly as you came, past the Admiral, along the edge of the water, and through the now-open gate. Climb two ladders, and you're home free!
Out the steel door and up the ladder, then through the Sleeping Thief room. There is no reason to take his note; he'll just wake up, and it's just instructions where he will meet L'Arsene later. Instead, just creep right, pick the De Charry key from the scion of the house (locked in the cage), and continue out the far window.
If you crouch, you can drop down from the ledge below the window to the street without taking damage. Go left (south), around the corner right (west), and look up: over the archway is a circular tunnel above another wooden beam. Rope up, then turn left at the intersection and continue all the way to the end.
You are now looking at the roof of the De Charry house. To get down without damage (and without making noise to alert the two guards at the entrance), just crouch-run off the edge; you'll bouce off the roof and land silently and pain-free... behind the guards!
The rest of the mission proceeds as normal. The key opens the double doors upstairs, which leads to L'Arsene himself. Pick his purse, blackjack the jerk, and haul him out (I think the rest of the house is already stripped bare -- that bulging purse is the take).
I had a little trouble bring L'Arsene back to the jail cell. The only way to reach it without being spotted is to swim... but when I swam while carrying the unconscious L'Arsene, he had a disturbing tendency to drown even when I was all right!
First, I made the swim myself, without L'Arsene, to open all the doors ahead of me. I crept into the empty cell to the right of where I entered the jail and frobbed the glowing mushroom, so I wouldn't be seen with the body.
Returning, I grabbed L'Arsene and swam as fast as I could to the place where I could take a breath; but I think L'Arsene isn't able to breathe as well as I (face in the water, maybe)... so the first time I tried this, he drowned on the last swimming leg, failing the game. The second time, I swam to the breath-taking place but only took a gulp or two before continuing on the last swimming lap and up the ladder.
When I dropped L'Arsene in the empty cell, the game ended.