Just when I had gathered the pieces of myself back together after being hit to death in the ol’ future head by Episode 3, I instantly became re-dismantled by the subsequent adventure, rather aptly named The Dark Room. This is where things take a turn for the worst and our inner demons begin to emerge. This episode will really start to make you feel rather futile and insignificant, if you don’t already. Everything you’ve done up to this point was in order to promote peace and to make the world a better place, but the actual results are not just disappointing—they are simply damning.
Does the young lady on the right look familiar? That is your once ambulatory best friend who you have confined to a wheelchair thanks to your cavalier temporal excursions. But isn’t it great that she has made better life choices such as declining to dye her hair blue? Isn’t it wonderful that her father is alive? What you cannot see in the background is a slew of beached whales who have become common shoreline decoration in the chaotic cyclone of insanity that you are now immersed in.
There is an intense anti-superhero vibe to this whole story that makes for many an essential statement regarding our Sisyphean condition. I do hope there is a way to play this game that minimizes casualties to a more satisfying extent. Although I should not yet know what is in store for me, let’s just say that saving Kate better provide a few thousand bonus points, or at least provide enough karma to light the way of the evil path to come.
Seriously, is that all that you are good for on this planet? Saving one person’s life so that you may fail to save scores of others? At this point in the game, the full extent of your horrendous failure is hardly realized. Here you sit calmly with your little alt-rock background music and handheld camera montages while the world burns around you, as half-proven suspicions fall flat and totally-not-obvious clues are shoved in your face. And what is your meager saving grace as society crumbles around you? What is the feeble mantra you keep repeating to convince yourself that you are not a monster? I saved Kate… Congratulations, Super Max.
While you are out playing detective, people are getting hurt. There is a real sense of urgency at this point that you need to find out what’s going on and put a stop to it. Although time travel is a very powerful tool and you recently learned how to take even bigger leaps backward, you know that you are using this ability rather ineffectively and time is never on your side. You are now totally on the offensive and you are willing to hurt the bad guys to get answers, but what casualties might suffer at the large blunt end of your cudgel?
Here I am, on the list of Vortex Club party members, thanks to very carefully crafted past events. There’s only one reason why I’m even in here, and for a variety of reasons that I can’t go into quite yet, it’s probably not even a good idea to do that one thing I’m here to do. Some of your actions have quite the opposite effect of what you think they will. What looks like a warning from danger could be its own kind of death knell. Here I am desperately searching for the perpetrator so that I am kept completely blind to the real horror…
And I leave you with that, as well as some very moving gameplay footage: