Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Epic Gaming Moments: Trauma Team

Welcome to a new feature of the Shonen Otaku Corner I shall appropriately name Shonen Otaku’s Epic Game Moments.  An uncreative title, to be sure, but an honest one.  In these posts, I will recall some of my favorite, epic, conflict-ridden moments in gaming and describe what it is about them that makes them so effective.  With me being a shonen otaku, you can expect more action than emotional drama.  And speaking of action, my very first epic game moment is one of the mind.

Before I get started, I should warn that since a lot of the moments are climaxes, there are going to be spoilers, so read at your own risk.  The size of the word "spoilers" on each of these posts will be proportionate to how big of a spoiler you will get if you read on.

Today’s epic game moment is brought to us by Trauma Team.

In the forensic investigator Naomi Kimishima’s second-to-last mission, she finds the address of the bombing murderer she is tracking.  Immediately, ignoring suggestions from her assistant, she goes to the known arson’s house without any kind of backup or protection.

Once she goes in, the door is locked behind her, and in the small beach house there is a table with 4 phones strapped to bombs.  A nearby radio (Or tape recorder.  It isn’t clear.) turns on, and the bomber talks to her.

I'd like to play a game.
The bomber says Naomi has 10 minutes to disable the bombs by simply calling the phones they're attached to, and that she needs to use clues, given to her by the room and the bomber, to figure out what their numbers are.  The clues in the room are smeared in washed-off blood on the wall, smeared on a mirror, and fingerprinted on a phone.

You’ve got to admire the amount of effort that must’ve gone into this.  Not only did the bomber have to somehow rig the deactivation to the phones, but he had to find 4 different phones, request specific numbers of differing area codes for each one, and pray that nobody else in the world was using that number.  And how did he smear all that blood on the wall?  Whose blood is it?  There wasn’t any blood on the floor, and containers of blood aren’t easy to come by.  From that we can assume it was his blood, but with that much out of his system, he should’ve fainted or died!

What makes the scene especially mentally invigorating is the puzzles themselves, the music, and the fact that up until this point, your character hasn’t been in danger whilst you've been in control.
The puzzles test knowledge, observation, mathematics and problem-solving.
You only have 10 minutes to do them, not counting dialogue breaks, but if you honestly run out of time, you need to see Dr. Cunningham.  Even though you have plenty of time, the music makes it seem as though time is ticking.  Its metronomic repetition is decent for helping you focus when you’re having to think during deduction sections, but against the clock, in the only section in which you can actually die, it comes off as more tense.

After the 4 puzzles are solved, the door unlocks, but Naomi thinks its too easy and looks inside a familiar-looking teddy bear.
Oh my god!  JC, a bomb!
This, of course, leads to the ever-classic and gripping wire-cutting scene not unlike the bomb disabling in the original Trauma Center.  There’s a lot of tension on the player to get this right, because if they don’t, they’ll have to go through the room all over again (and you may not have written the numbers down).  Once you cut it, the game gives you a moment to close your eyes in hope and be met with congratulatory silence or an explosion that engulfs the screen.  It’s the final showdown with the mad bomber, and it’s epic.

Is that what you think?  Naomi, I think you need a lesson from the book of Joe.

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