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Let’s Play: Paradise aka Last King of Africa   ***SPOILERS***

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Woohoo! I’ll be enjoying this! Perhaps it’ll even motivate me to get the game and play it finally (I’ve been considering it for some time now)

The good news is that copies are very cheap - I hear the latest retail version has all the patches already installed:

http://www.amazon.com/Paradise-PC/dp/B000BYTYJI

Nintendo version:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/LAST-KING-OF-AFRICA/dp/B001DMW7Q4/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1425562128&sr=8-2&keywords=last+king+of+africa

Nintendo version reviews:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/product-reviews/B001FWXEG4/ref=dp_db_cm_cr_acr_txt?ie=UTF8&showViewpoints=1

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Mikekelly - 05 March 2015 08:33 AM

The good news is that copies are very cheap - I hear the latest retail version has all the patches already installed:

http://www.amazon.com/Paradise-PC/dp/B000BYTYJI

The PC version is also available as download at a couple of places, like Big Fish Games and the US version of The Adventure Shop, but oddly enough not the European version.

     

You have to play the game, to find out why you are playing the game! - eXistenZ

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Chapter 3 - Zamarat Emerald Mines

The end of the road. To continue our journey we have to cross the river.

We might as well read the papers the Molgrave found on the spies.

So “Ann Smiths” real name has the initials M.R., and it was indeed us they where looking for. It doesn’t tell us if they were working for the rebels or the king though, I guess it could have been either.

It doesn’t look like the ferry is in mint condition though, but nothing a bit of makeshift repairs shouldn’t fix.

Some jerry cans

To increase the buoyancy

And we are good to go.

Luckily the ferry is gazeline powered through a treadmill that powers the paddle wheels.

Though crossing a torrent river in the middle of a storm in a jerry-rigged ferry, might not be the most safe endeavour imaginable.

Obviously the ferry gets capsized in the wild river!

Hmm… I’m beginning to see a pattern here, I wonder how many more accidents “Ann” will have before the end of this game.

Fortunately we make it to the other river bank alive.

To the Zamarat Emerald Mine.
But we have now lost our only means of transportation, and the leopard is once again on the loose.
Not good!

Lets explore the place and talk to some of the miners.

An elevator that doesn’t work, or more likely we just need some kind of access card or key first.

So the mine has run dry and there are no more emeralds to be found, yet they still keep on digging, because that is what miners do, they also don’t like getting back to the surface, but prefer to stay underground.
Rodan has stopped visiting the mine since it ran out of Emeralds, there has been some kind of accident at the mine, the miners believe that the mine is cursed, and the mine director Harambee hasn’t been the same since the accident.

All useful information I’m sure.

Unfortunately he hasn’t seen or heard anything about or leopard, but at least we get some more information about the mythology regarding the black leopard.

Moria… You fear to go into those mines. The Dwarves delved too greedily and too deep. You know what they awoke in the darkness of Khazad-dum… shadow and flame.

Erh… Wrong story .. Sorry. But still, even though the director gives a perfectly sound reason for why they shouldn’t dig any deeper, then it feels like there is more to it then that. Especially since we have heard the miners talk about an accident and a curse!

So there is a mad engineer running around at the bottom of the mine, and the director wouldn’t dream of going down himself, most likely because he is scared of something.

Now I’m intrigued and very curious to see what is actually going on down in the mine.

Well that doesn’t sound good.

And as soon as we leave the room, he is on the radio, telling the kings men that we are here.

At least we now know “Ann Smiths” real name: Malkia Rodon-Crown
I must admit that not knowing her actual name, but only the alias she has been using, has bugged me for quite some time.

That is all he keeps saying, over and over again.

Hmm… The beast? I guess he could be referring to our leopard, and his wounds does look like they could have been from a leopard claw.
Dada - the engineer that has been down in the mine for over a year.
And what is that about level 1095? I thought Harambee said that they never went deeper than 975 yards! I guess he wasn’t completely honest with us.

Moria… You fear to go into those mines. The Dwarves delved too greedily and too deep. You know what they awoke in the darkness of Khazad-dum… shadow and flame. - Sorry, I couldn’t resist that Wink

Talking to the rest of the miners, they don’t really know anything else, they just found him like this at level 975.

Time to confront Harambee.

Who just denies everything and locks us in his room - So now we are trapped!

     

You have to play the game, to find out why you are playing the game! - eXistenZ

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I’m curious to see what the Balrog lower mine levels will look like… Cool

     

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I’m curious to see what the Balrog lower mine levels will look like.

Wink

     

I enjoy playing adventure games on handheld systems- PS VITA, Nintendo DS and ipad mini.

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While Ann Malkia is held captive in the directors cabin, I though it might be a opportune moment to post some thoughts and interpretations I have about the game.

1) When does it take place?

Previously I have speculated that it must be in the 70’s, but I no longer think that is the case. Looking at the clues then they are all over the place, there are many modern elements in the game, pushing it as far up as contemporary time, but there are also many other elements pushing it as far back as to the 50’s, and if you add it all up, then it simply does not compute.

I think that this was done very deliberately, and that the game is not meant to take place at any specific time!

Just like the fictional country of Maurania is meant to represent the whole of Africa, with both a Arabic part, a tribal part, a black part and whatnot, then I also think that it is meant to represent the whole of the post-colonial time-period of Africa. A very ambitious goal, but also what I think is one of the biggest strength of the game.

2) Yards and South at top of maps.

In the last part of the game, the fact that they measured the depth of the mine in yards instead of metres, stood out like a sore thumb. Had it been an American game then I wouldn’t have though twice about it, but this is an European game that takes place in Africa, both places where you use the metric system. This of course also relates to the time of the game, as it wasn’t until the 60’s that they adopted the metric system in many areas of Africa, and had it not been for the map then I might not have thought twice about it.

But then there is also the map where South is draw at the top and West to the right, instead of the normal map-projection used everywhere else in the world. I think that the purpose here is to emphasize, not so much that it is a fictional country, but a place where the normal rules of civilization doesn’t really apply. Instead it is a place where South is up and they use the nonsensical imperial units instead of the standardized sensible metric units, and this might of course also apply to many other parts of their society.

In other words, we shouldn’t look at this through our civilized European glasses, but instead see it from the inhabitants own point of view. This is also mirrored in the fact that Malkia very much start out as an European, with an European view of the situation, even using the European name “Ann Smith” as an alias, but as she travels through the country then she also becomes increasingly Africanized.

3) To have amnesia or not.

As you might have noticed, I have been wavering a bit on my view on Malkia’s amnesia, going from “She’s faking it” to “Perhaps it is partial true”, and it is not because I normally have a problem of making up my mind, it is because we actually get conflicting vibes from the game on this issue.

On one hand Malkia keeps insisting that she can’t remember anything, and actually makes a very convincing show of it, but at the same time we also get many small hints that this might not be the case, like the message found on the two spies, with the words “She claims she has lost her memory.

Once again I believe that this is intentional and that we are meant to doubt her amnesia story and never know for certain whether it is true, faked or somewhere in between, and the effect of this is that she remains somewhat of an enigma to us the player.

Normally when playing a game, you know pretty much everything worth knowing about the protagonist after the first 15 minutes. You know what kind of person they are, you know what their motives are, you know what they think about the events in the game, what they are trying to achieve etc. And to make sure that it stays that way, you either give the protagonist some inner monologues or add a sidekick that the protagonist can bounce ideas and thoughts off, making sure that the player always knows exactly where the protagonist stands in regards to the plot.

But not in Paradise!

I’m now more than half way through the game, and I am still not certain of whether Malkia is faking her amnesia or not, I haven’t got the slightest idea of why she came to Maurania in the first place, perhaps she simply wanted to get to know her father, perhaps she has some kind of political agenda, perhaps she has some other motives that haven’t been revealed yet. And it isn’t just because her amnesia story conceals these information from us the player, which I believe is the main reason for this story arc in the first place. She is in general also very secretive towards the people she meets, and without any inner monologue or sidekick we get extremely little information or feedback from her.

The effect is that the protagonist herself is an enigma, a mystery that needs to be solved. Personally I absolutely love it, and I am very curious, you could even say that I crave to learn more about her, and it is one of the things that I love about the game.

Letting the protagonist be this kind of enigma is however also a very dangerous thing, you could say that it breaks one of the narrative rules of games, and I believe that it is also one of the reasons that the game never became more popular than it did. Many perhaps felt that they couldn’t connect to or empathize with the protagonist when they got so little in return from her, I have even heard some argue that she is a bland and uninteresting character because of this - I obviously disagree!

4) The Girl and the Black Leopard

Nah!
I think I will leave that to your own imagination and interpretations, at least for now, but there is obviously at lot of symbolism here too.


Anyway enough about me talking for now, I’m sure you are dying to see how Malkia gets out of the current situation, and what we will find in the mine. So I better get back to actually playing the game.

     

You have to play the game, to find out why you are playing the game! - eXistenZ

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Now that is interesting I myself never doubted that she lost her memory before now however why she would fake it and what she would gain from it I am not seeing.

Well, this play thought for me is very interesting - I’m seeing the game in a different light now.

     

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Mikekelly - 08 March 2015 12:22 PM

... however why she would fake it and what she would gain from it I am not seeing.

Her motive would be the simplest and strongest motive of all.. survival!

Even better than faking an amnesia would of course be to create a fake identity and a plausible story for why she is in Maurania, but we have to remember that she didn’t expect to be shot down by the rebels, and that she didn’t plan for having to traverse the whole country on her own. So when she wakes up in the hospital and people suddenly start asking who she is and why she is in Maurania, then it is much easier to simply say “I can’t remember” then to come up with a plausible story on the fly.

The other possibility is of course that she actually has amnesia, but complete and total amnesia is extremely rare. It is not uncommon for people who has been in a violent accident or similar, to forget the actual crash and the events leading right up to it, but outright amnesia to the point where you can’t even remember who you are, that is much rarer.

Either way, the game very much leaves this up to our own interpretation, giving us the amnesia story but at the same time hinting that it might not be entirely true. My own interpretation right now is that it is somewhere in between, that there really are things she can’t remember, but that she also remembers more than she is willing to admit.

Mikekelly - 08 March 2015 12:22 PM

Well, this play thought for me is very interesting - I’m seeing the game in a different light now.

Thank you!
That was what I was hoping to achieve with this playthrough. Well not for you specifically, but that people in general would see that there is more to the game than just the actual plot, that there are many layers in the story, many things that you can easily miss and many things that are open for interpretations. There are even many things that I didn’t notice or realize myself when I originally played the game, and I only realize now as I go along.

Did I mention that I actually can’t remember how the game ends?
I remember most of what happens just before the ending, but not the actual ending itself Pan

     

You have to play the game, to find out why you are playing the game! - eXistenZ

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Trapped in the Directors cabin Frown

Well we can’t just linger here until the kings men arrive, so we better look for some way of escaping.

A mouse scurries between our legs, revealing some loose floorboards.

Unfortunately nothing much we can do about that right now.

Assorted mining equipment including some pickaxes.

*Sigh* that didn’t work.

Perhaps we should change our outfit first, luckily we also found some mining outfit and there is a changing screen right her in the cabin.

Some trial and error and three broken pickaxe shafts later.

It doesn’t look like we can easily get out that way Frown
Hmm.. But perhaps we don’t have to, perhaps we just need to make Harambee believe we have escaped this way.

A bit of acrobatics, and we hide on the roof beams.

And Harambee leaves the door open when he leaves.

Lets hope he doesn’t recognize us in our disguise.
*Phew* it worked, no one will suspect that we are anything but a common miner now.

Meanwhile in the Rebel Camp

Colonel the men we sent out looking for Rodan’s daughter are dead.
- What happened?
The Molgrave Colonel .. Those savages aren’t very subtle, if you know what I mean.

Hmm… too bad for her. For the moment we have other priorities. Malkia Rodon-Crown has taken sides!

So the two spies that killed Major Goodmorning where working for the rebellion, and the rebel colonel now believes that we have sided with our father.

Back to Malkia

Now that we have our disguise and there is nothing left to do on the surface, the elevator suddenly works without the need for any key, access card or makeshift repairs Shifty Eyed

Lets explore these mines and see what we can find.
Finding and talking to engineer Dada might give us some useful information and/or some means of transportation, and we also have a black leopard to catch.

Nothing to do here, at least not yet.

Nothing here as well.

Obviously Bill knows more about what is going on down here in the mine than what he is telling us, but he are scared of someone or something.

Well I’m not letting him off the hook that easily.

That might very well be the case, but something is going on with engineer Dada and you know what it is. Lets drop the gloves and put the screws on him .. figuratively speaking of course.. charm is more Malkia’s strength than threats or brute force are.

So while or more likely because Harambee has been afraid of entering the mine since the big accident where he lost a leg, engineer Dada has completely taken control of the actual mine. She has gone completely bonkers, has turned the whole thing into some kind of crazy cult worshipping herself, ruling the place with an iron-grip and keeping everyone in place with fear!

Erh… perhaps we shouldn’t rely on any help from her, in fact it is probably better if we stay clear of her.

*****
An allegory or a mirror of what is going on in the the country as a whole perhaps. A mad engineer controlling the lower levels and a sensible but weak director controlling the surface, with people like Bill caught in the middle?
*****

Anyway, he won’t tell us how to get the lower levels, so we have to figure that out on our own.

A rope is always handy.

Poor animal, working its whole life at the bottom of a mine without ever seeing the light of day, and now that it is too old and blind to work anymore, its over to the elephant graveyard Cry

So.. I guess you wouldn’t mind if I borrowed her for a while?

But first, since we are at the bottom of a mine, lets get out of this mining outfit, and back into our normal clothes Shifty Eyed

As the gentleman he is, Bill leaves us alone while we change.

And we of course use the opportunity to nick some tools, and I know just where to use them.

And the elephant is free.. well as free as you can be at the bottom of a mine.

Looks like there is something here at the top of the elevator.

A bit of sabotage has never hurt anyone.
Well it has, but our cause is just!

And with the elevator out of the way, we can see a large steel plate covering.. something.. perhaps the shaft leading down to level 1095.

Time for some heavy pulling.

And we have access to.. some kind of machinery, perhaps a different elevator that goes further down?

     

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Her motive would be the simplest and strongest motive of all.. survival!

Ah, yes - living is such a good thing. Well, I have to go along with you on this one - it’s does seem to be a mix of she can’t recall some things and some faking it for survival reasons.

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A few minutes of tinkering with the controls.

And we are down at level 1095.

Where engineer Dada rules

She doesn’t seem very friendly, we better be careful about what we say.

Yep - Mad as a hatter!

I however don’t think it was a good idea to say so directly to her face, and even worse to challenge her authority - I think you could have handled this better Malkia!

I told you so!

Thrown into a pit, and once again Malkia looses consciousness!

Fortunately we already know who that demon that has scared the workers are, don’t we?

Time to play as the leopard again, the purpose here is to get to Malkia.
Once again I however find the controls too lagging, and skip it after a few minutes.

Look behind you, a three-headed-mo.. wild ferociously predator prowling for prey.

*PRRRRR-MRROOWW-PUURRR*

Oh! It only wanted to wake her up!

     

You have to play the game, to find out why you are playing the game! - eXistenZ

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Time for some heavy pulling

I actually enjoyed the elephant sections of this game - quite fun even on the Nintendo DS.

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Priority of the day: Escape the pit!

So lets start by exploring the place.

That was quick!

Well it is a pit, and not a tunnel system, and pits are by definition usually deeper than they are wide. The leopard got to us, but it also had to do an awful lot of jumping to do so, so I don’t think we can get out the same way the leopard got in.

Anyway there is an old-style detonator, so I guess blasting our way out is an option, a dangerous option but never the less an option.

But first there is an old broken oil lamp, that still has some oil in it.

Pour the oil on the canvas belt.

Ignite it.

And the elevator is now within reach.

Unfortunately it doesn’t simply lift us out of the pit, but just give us access to different levels of the scaffolding.

Some detonator wire.

I’m rich - RICH! .. Mbwahahaaa! But it won’t help us much if we starve to death here in the pit.

3rd floor power tools - specifically a mining hand drill - and after a few minutes of drilling Wink

We make a tiny hole in wall, just large enough for a stick of dynamite - A pity we haven’t got any dynamite Frown
But there is a crate hanging to the right - just out of reach. Hmmm there is also a polopolo hanging from the ceiling.

Throw some emeralds at the polopolo until it lands on the crate.

We know how much leopards like polopolo!

Well at least it wasn’t Malkia that had yet another accident this time, and as we all know cats always land on their feet. But it got its dinner, and pushed down the crate in the process.

Hmmm.. isn’t dynamite shock sensitive?
That could have gone horribly wrong, but it wasn’t like we had much choice.

Put the dynamite in the hole we just drilled, and attach the detonator wire.

And we are ready to blast out way out of here.

UH-OH Water! - Didn’t Harambee say that the reason he didn’t want to dig deeper, was that there was a river too close, and that he was afraid of flooding?

     

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Safely back on level 975.

Lets start by warning good old Bill about the flooding.

A pity, I really liked Bill he was such a dutiful guy Cry
But if he want to stay here and drown that is his problem. Still I don’t think it is just because he is afraid the sun will hurt his eyes, I think he knows more about what is going on at the surface than he is telling us.

What is so bad that he will rather stay down here and drown?

Oh! I guess that explains why Bill stayed down in the mine - Dead .. Bodies .. Everywhere Gasp

A single survivor.

So if Malkia had just waited in the cabin, none of this… massacre would have happened!

It gives you pause to think doesn’t it? Well at least for me it does.
The number of people that have been killed in this game, more or less directly because of Malkia’s actions is beginning to get staggering high, and so far all Malkia has really been concerned about is her own survival.

Malkia might be a sweet and innocent 18 year old girl suffering from a partial memory loss, caught in a situation that she can’t completely comprehend, and there is nothing wrong with a bit of survival instinct. But .. I think it is about time she pulls her head out of her butt and starts thinking a bit more about the people around her, the consequences of her actions and the situation in general.

Well I guess it is never easy to learn that your father is a murderous monstrosity - At least I assume it isn’t easy, I have absolutely no personal experience in that department.

Time to get out of here.

     

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Meanwhile at the Black Vault

- So?
It all went bad at Zamarat!
- Malkia .. where is Malkia?
We don’t know .. She… eh… she disappeared *gulp* there was flooding in the mine, and…

- AND?
We didn’t find her .. nobody knows where your daughter is now!

Back to Malkia

An ambush!
Well at least the leopard got away.

     

You have to play the game, to find out why you are playing the game! - eXistenZ

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