Archive for 2022

Strange Journey Part 7: The Ordered World

At last we come to the first world that doesn’t represent a failing of humanity. Sector E, Eridanus, looks a little bit like some depictions of heaven – it’s an ordered place filled with rows of trees and mysterious vaguely electronic-looking obelisks. The Red Sprite crew all comment on how it looks human-made, but definitely wasn’t – an artificial, ordered land of unknown provenance. Everyone on board is excited about the prospect of the sector containing the “Vanishing Point” – the bigwigs at the command center broadcast some kind of beacon laser, which the Red Sprite is able to pinpoint to determine its relative location in space-time. Which is to say, Mr. Command Computer, Arthur, was able to spot the laser from the sector, pinpointing the location by which we can theoretically escape.

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Strange Journey Part 6: The World of Trash

Delphinus starts out seeming very straightforward – atmospherically, it’s a complete trash dump, with rivers moving garbage around. There’s actually very little substance to this beyond being the backdrop for this little chunk of plot. The second floor of Delphinus is the only mechanically interesting part. It’s a conveyer belt maze with pitfalls on wrong turns that take you to a big loop on the first floor. Particularly after the mess that was the second sphere of the Womb of Grief, it’s very tolerable.

Early in Delphinus, you work closely with Zelenin to try and identify the Rosetta (the kind of Forma needed to move to the next sector). Despite triangulating, and supposed upgrades to the detection capabilities of the Demonica, it’s not clear where it is. Shortly after these events, there’s an odd event – after Commander Gore died in Antlia, his body was brought on board the ship and placed in a capsule in the sick bay. The body is missing, which makes the crew (understandably) concerned about it being taken or – worse – walking off on its own.

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Strange Journey Part 5: A World of Consumption

The resolution of Bootes brings you another Macguffin that allows you to travel to the realm of Sector C: Codename, Carina. Also known as the furthest I got in the original release of Strange Journey, although Carina is much more tolerable than Bootes I sensed the game was turning in a direction of less narrative, and I think the spartan way that the original Strange Journey told the story was also making it hard for me to stick with it.

I was wrong on the first count, actually. Although it’s true that the actual mechanics of sector traversal in Strange Journey (and Redux) remain fairly static, the world – both outer and inner (Schwarzwelt) does change and the narrative keeps on trucking.

But the relative dearth of story between the end of Bootes and the middle of Carina is a little hard to take, especially because you’re going from one “excess” to another thematically. Honestly, the character portraits and voice acting – even if undubbed – give the game overall a considerable amount of additional flavor. Yes, Redux is otherwise less difficult (you can change that!), and that removes some of the tension – but I just don’t buy the argument I’ve seen that the original Strange Journey is better so far. Yes, the endings might change that – but I didn’t get to the original’s endings, and I’m not going to replay the original to get there. Maybe I’ll look up videos sometime.

Actually, this segues nicely into the entire purpose of these “let’s play”-ish blog entries. Why start with Strange Journey?

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Strange Journey Part 4: A World of Desire

After reaching the end of Antlia, the overall cadence of Strange Journey becomes clearer. First, you encounter and recoil at another strange new plane. Then, you discover who’s in charge and what they’re doing, and through finding the right Forma or getting the right pseudo-divine guidance, you defeat them.

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Strange Journey Redux Part 3: A World In Conflict

This post contains spoilers for the first 5 hours, plus or minus, of Strange Journey Redux. I’d say “beware”, but if you’re playing Strange Journey only for the plot, that’s probably your first mistake.

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