The good news is: if you've read William Gibson's short story "Johnny
Mnemonic" it won't help you to play Sony Imagesoft's game of the same
name. The game is substantially different from the story -- even some
of the major characters are different. Similarly, although the game
bears more resemblance to the recent JOHNNY MNEMONIC movie release than
to the original short story, most portions of the movie script never appear
in the game and vice versa. So you needn't feel that having "seen
the movie" or "read the book" will completely spoil your enjoyment of
The bad news is: the good news. Double for those who have neither
seen the movie nor read the book. The game plops you down in the middle
of an ongoing story, and you have to absorb gradually the significance
of all that you encounter. Since this is an interactive movie,
just about everything you interact with -- people, items, places --
you'll perceive only through sight and sound. The game has no subtitle
option, so, for example, unless you listen carefully as a character
describes him or herself or another character, you will have no idea what
the names of the characters are. The same is true for items, which
the game does not identify for you. You're expected to be able to tell
what the item is just by looking at it. This can be a problem since
some of the items are far from the familiar household variety, and it's
worse if your computer system isn't generating perfect video quality.
I found that I was simply unable to tell what some of the items Johnny
picked up were from their visual representation.
The game's fundamental conflict, as you find out from reading the
box and some of the material in the booklet that comes in the CD case
(and which becomes more apparent during the first few scenes) is your
basic race against time. Johnny is a courier in a near-future
society, carrying data in an implant in his head. Unfortunately for
Johnny, it's far more data than his implant's designed to carry, and in
about 12 hours it will wreak havoc on his nervous system and kill him
-- unless he's able to download it from his skull. The problem is, he
needs a code to download the material, and he doesn't have it. The main
object of the game is to find the code and then download the information.
But of course, this information is valuable, and some prime goons from
the organized crime conglomerate Yakuza are literally after Johnny's head.
They aren't above killing him before the data overload does.
GENERAL NOTES FOR THE ADVENTURER
This game differs from some traditional adventure games in two
significant respects. First, you cannot necessarily save your game in
the place you think you're saving. There are certain "key" places
in the game described in the booklet (including Johnny's apartment,
Spider's lab, Ralfi's office, etc.) and if you save before you get to
the next of these, you'll start in the last one you left. Also, your
saves won't necessarily resume exactly where you left off even if you
do save in a "key" place.
Second, the game has no conscious inventory control. Johnny will
pick up items if you USE where he can pick something up, but you won't
be able to select the item from inventory to examine it or USE it.
Instead, if he's carrying an item that can be used in a particular place,
he will do so automatically if you USE in that location.
A fair amount of combat occurs in the game, but it is relatively simple
and not very challenging once you get the hang of it. I died quite a
bit at the beginning before I found that feet were a great all-purpose
weapon. KICK became my primary weapon in each fight, except one. For the
first couple of enemies, I didn't use any other combat function -- I just
KICKED each time I got the "letter" screen (the screen with black top and
bottom edges) and that took care of that. Later in the game, you have to
deal with a couple of tougher fighters. I had to adjust my timing a bit, but
I found that KICKING liberally and using the other options sparingly
worked on one of these guys, and for the other I just used PUNCH the same
way I'd used KICK throughout the rest of the game.
In general, you'll want to LOOK, MOVE and USE in every possible
direction to make sure you don't miss anything. Sometimes MOVE and USE
will have the same result; other times you'll miss something if you don't
USE instead of MOVE. Be sure to try USE more than once in each location
as sometimes that will find you more items. In some cases, when you
USE determines whether you'll find a new item or not. I couldn't really
find a pattern to it, so if you need to USE to find more than one item,
I've noted the items I found instead of the specific number of
times you should USE in case you don't hit the timing just right.
At many points during the game, you won't have any option to do
anything. You'll be watching the "movie" part of the interactive movie.
But don't go running off for popcorn because you'll soon be back in
the "interactive" part and if you don't act, Johnny frequently will.
I've used the term "movie mode" to describe what happens during these
sequences in this walkthru.
Because the game is non-linear, different ways of approaching a particular
problem exist. What follows is the way I approached the game and what
happened as I played. Your mileage may vary, but I've included information
on those of the possible alternatives I discovered. I have noted these
STARTING OUT: Johnny's Apartment
JOHNNY MNEMONIC begins in Johnny's BEDROOM, where he awakes and snaps
rather uncharitably at his female body guard for letting him sleep.
After this, you're presented with your first interactive sequence. My
game began with the short walkthru of the first scene that is included in
the game booklet at page 10. This seemed as good a place as any to start
since it felt like I hadn't played a completely keyboard-controlled game
since I retired my 286, and I knew it was going to take me awhile to
become fully comfortable with the interface.
After Johnny's finished squawking at the bodyguard, he's facing a
FISH TANK that's poised on one of his BEDSIDE TABLES. As the booklet
instructed, I MOVED toward the TABLE, and Johnny sat down, picked up some
GOGGLES, and flashed back to the experience of having the data uploaded into
his brain. When this was over, he was facing the bodyguard. Again, as the
booklet says, I MOVED toward her, and saw another segment of flashback to
the uploading and the destruction of the disk containing the information
uploaded into Johnny's head. Then Johnny was facing the FISH TANK again.
Johnny and I were also now on our own because the booklet's walkthru ended
I next experimented with LOOK and MOVE. I LOOKED right and saw the
BODYGUARD again. I LOOKED right again, and faced the BEDROOM DOORWAY.
If you don't do anything else here, after awhile Johnny will
take off on his own and walk out the bedroom door (bad Johnny! bad bad
bad!). I found this out when I ended up in the next room before I was
ready and discovered I was in a very difficult situation indeed. You'll
see that Johnny will travel on auto-pilot throughout the game at
various points, so it's important not to abdicate control unless you
really intend to.
After starting over and replaying to this point, I LOOKED right again,
and found that I was facing the second of the BEDSIDE TABLES, but I
couldn't MOVE toward it. This should, perhaps, have been an immediate
tip-off that I should have USED here, but I didn't since I was still
getting used to the MOVE and LOOK keys. (If you do USE here, you'll
find a card that says "Beijing Grand Hotel" on it and see yet another
flashback to the uploading in which Johnny learns that he's now carrying
in his head the only copy of the data that was on the disk. USE again
here, and you'll find some items that are described later in my game.)
Instead of USING, though, I geared up for that difficult situation I
hadn't felt ready for, LOOKED left, and MOVED. Johnny walked into the
next room where several guards were present. Now we entered movie mode,
and Johnny spoke to Ralfi, his agent, over the vid-phone. This segment
drives home the point that Johnny has to download or he'll die, but he
doesn't have an access code. Ralfi assures Johnny that he has a
"geezer" standing by who will get the info out of Johnny's head.
Still in movie mode, enter Jane who's there to "help." Jane displays
that she's quite unpredictably tough when, while being held at gunpoint
by one of Johnny's guards, she reverses the situation and points a very
nasty weapon at the guard's head. After this exhibition, some truly
unpleasant people arrive. This is one of the spots where having seen
the movie (or read the screenplay -- I did both) can help. If you have,
you'll recognize the leader as Shinji and (perhaps) his side-kick as
Henson, both of whom are Yakuza. You'll also realize what it is that
Shinji's doing, which I found terribly unclear from the game. Shinji
has a very unusual thumb, which doubles as a lethal weapon. His thumb
has a metal cap on the end, and inside is a filament. He can extract the
filament from the thumb and neatly slice through the unlucky enemy
quicker than you can say "yuppie cheeseboard." And he's extracting it
now with an eye toward Johnny. Since I was pretty sure I had no weapons
(not being able to check inventory, I wasn't certain), I decided it was
best to get out of there as soon as possible.
As soon as movie mode stopped, I ran while I had the chance. After a
few false starts where I died uncermoniously, I discovered that if I
hit MOVE each time I got a letter screen (three times total), we were
out of there after a confusing scuffle in movie mode which is peppered
by machine gun fire.
ESCAPE FROM THE APARTMENT: In the Hallway
The goon who appears to be Henson (I say appears to be because there's
a Henson in the cast list in the CD booklet and in the screenplay he's
described as an American Yakuza) was waiting in the HALLWAY after we escaped
the apartment -- and he was in fighting mode. I figured there wasn't much
choice except for Johnny to put up his own dukes. I don't care
what the booklet says, the main timing challenge with hand-to-hand
combat in this game is not standing still. After trying several
combinations of fighting techniques unsuccessfully, I just KICKED the
guy immediately every time I got the letter screen until he didn't get
up anymore. Once I figured out this method, Johnny didn't even get a
INTO THE DEPTHS: From Hallway to Subway
Now we were in movie mode, and after Jane gives Johnny an understated
compliment on his prowess in kicking down his adversary, the two of them
run outside and have a little heart to heart. Johnny spills his guts
to Jane about his predicament and reveals that he calculates 12 hours
before the overload burns his neurons to garbage. During this exchange,
Jane develops a bad case of the shakes. Hmmm... what does this mean?
Is she a junkie? The game doesn't tell you. Jane does tell you that
she needs to see someone called Spider, who Johnny refers to as a
"body hacker." Johnny would really rather not deal with this problem
given his own time constraints, but relents, throws Jane over his
shoulder, and heads into the subway. Once there, Jane's shoe promptly
decides to weld itself to the subway rail, which is very bad news indeed.
However, an apparent subway dweller (who I suspect from the cast
list is the fellow called Squatter) appeared and offered Johnny a HOOK once
we left movie mode. This was a seemingly attractive alternative, but
each time I went for the HOOK and attempted to "get to the rail" as this
guy suggested, Jane and Johnny soared into oblivion at the nose of a high
speed train. Instead, if after taking the HOOK I LOOKED left twice and then
MOVED (the opposite direction from the one I'd been facing when I met
the hook guy), Johnny and Jane ended up in front of a large fan and the
train passed by without incident. The hook guy then told me where
to find Spider, and Jane and Johnny proceeded to his lab in movie mode.
HUMP? WHAT HUMP?: In Spider's Lab
This Spider person doesn't come off as a particularly friendly sort,
but why should he be different from any of the other so-called cyberpunks
in the game? He does have a weak spot for Jane, who he has apparently
doctored in some way, shape, or form (or perhaps more ways than one) in
the past. He denies that his work is responsible for her current
condition and gives a terse lecture on how "clean" his work is. If you've
seen the movie, you know that Jane's "condition" is NAS (Nerve Attenuation
Syndrome), but this wasn't developed very thoroughly in the game. After
this, movie mode ends with Spider taking Jane away to tend to her. Now
Johnny and I were free to explore his lab.
Initially, we were facing a TABLE with some RED BOXES on it. I USED
in this direction and found something in one of the BOXES that appeared to
be a kind of cable. Johnny examined it and then put it back. After
this, I LOOKED right and was facing another TABLE which was farther away.
I MOVED toward it and USED it. I found I could examine three items there
and take one of them if I USED several times. One of the items was a CASE
shaped like a head. It appears to me from reading the screenplay
that this is a cryogenic storage unit of the sort that the Yakuza would
like to take Johnny's head home in. The second was a framed PICTURE of
Jane. The second time Johnny picked up this PICTURE, he took an item
and placed it in his jacket pocket. This item appeared to me on first
examination to be a piece of cloth. I now believe it to be a RUBBER
GLOVE, for reasons explained later.
I then LOOKED right and found myself facing a TANK with body parts
floating in it and a red light flashing next to it. I USED it and got
a close up of the TANK, but no amount of USING would allow me to do
anything with the tank.
I LOOKED right again twice and faced a HUTCH with a bookcase and two
DRAWERS. USING the hutch several times allowed me to look in each of
the DRAWERS. Inside one I found an odd looking RED CASE that appeared to
be locked. Inside the other I found some READING MATERIAL on NAS.
Johnny examined but didn't take either one.
At this point, I turned around and walked back the way I'd come. On
the left hand side was a table with a BULLETIN BOARD over it. I USED here
and saw a close up view of a medical-type (body hacker?) anatomy chart.
I then LOOKED left and saw a CHAIR in front of me. I MOVED toward it
and Johnny sat in the CHAIR. From this vantage, he was facing a
small table with a glass-doored CABINET in it. Neither MOVE nor USE
worked for me here.
While Johnny was making himself comfy in the CHAIR, I LOOKED left and
found a KEYPAD that I could USE. This sent the contraption Johnny was
sitting in, an ONO-SENDAI MACHINE, into a whirring frenzy, but it
didn't do anything else at this point. I LOOKED right twice, and saw
a TOOLBOX. I USED it and Johnny picked up another hard-to-identify item.
It looked to me like a very large version of one of those KEYS that you use
to open sardine cans. Whatever it was, Johnny nabbed it.
I LOOKED right and MOVED to get out of the chair. When Johnny stood up,
he was facing a YELLOW CURTAIN. I USED the curtain and Spider parted
it. I got a peek of Jane lying down in the background while Spider yelled
at us that she needed rest. Afterwards, Johnny was facing the center of the
lab where we started.
Since I'd given everything in the LAB the once-over at this point,
I just let Johnny leave on his own through a different CURTAIN (this
time a WHITE one). Here we entered movie mode. Johnny asks Spider to
give his apologies to Jane. Next stop: Ralfi's. We were whisked there in
OFF(ICE) WITH HIS HEAD: Ralfi's Office
Guess what? Not only Ralfi, but his flunkies and the Yakuza baddies are
waiting for you at the office. They're gearing up for a decapitation
party at which Johnny's the guest of honor. No one's interested in
Johnny's suggestion that they just download the information from his head
because traces might be left for others to discover. And Shinji's
starting to do that thumb thing again.
Luckily, Jane has thrown off her shakes and comes to the rescue,
although she won't shut up about her fee and keeps driving up the price
of her services. She does, however, create a ruckus during which she
and Johnny scram. Before they were clear, I had to fight (as Jane) a female
ninja-type who may be (from the booklet and the movie script) called
Pretty, although this is unclear at this point. Again, I just KICKED
her immediately every time I got the letter screen until she succumbed.
HOME SWEET HOME: Back at Johnny's
After the fight we were back in movie mode, and returned to Johnny's
apartment where movie mode promptly stopped. When it did, Johnny was
facing the VID-PHONE. I USED it. A woman appeared and a short movie
sequence ensued. She tells Johnny that to get the data out of his
head, he needs to rebuild a data rig. Pictures of the pieces he needs to
build the rig float past on the screen as she speaks. She further tells him
that she has the download code and it is stored in three separate data port
locations "here" in Newark. She warns that Johnny must hurry because the
data is going to start seeping out of his implant. (Gee, I bet you wondered
where you were all this time, didn't you? Newark? Why couldn't it have been
Paris?!) If you keep USING the VID-PHONE, you'll eventually get the blonde
Asian woman who greets you when you die in the game instead of the first
woman (whose identity at this point is a mystery). The Asian woman (a.k.a.
"Gobble Net Girl") is not much help.
I LOOKED right to a BULLETIN BOARD and USED it several times until I
concluded I'd seen everything on it. I found a MENU from an Italian take-out
joint, a CALENDAR, a POSTER, and a motion-picture POSTCARD from a fetching
pal vacationing in California. Johnny took none of these. I LOOKED right
twice more and Johnny faced a WINDOW. If you USE here, Johnny winces
in pain. The data is beginning to seep out of the implant and into his
system as the message from the woman on the vid-phone warned.
I LOOKED left and MOVED forward. LEFT and MOVE again took me back to
Johnny's BEDROOM. I LOOKED right and MOVED (USE worked too) toward the
bookshelf. Johnny picked up a BOOK and heard a tag line from Gibson's short
story "If they think you're crude, go technical, if they think you're
technical, go crude." Ponder this for awhile. Maybe you'll be able to
figure out what it means. If you can, send me the answer by email because
I'm still at the pondering stage. And by the way, if you know the meaning of
life, I'll take that too while you're at it. And don't say 42!
Then I LOOKED right again twice and was back at the second BEDSIDE TABLE
where I didn't USE the first time through the bedroom. This time, I USED
here, and Johnny picked up what appeared to be three CARDS of some sort.
I LOOKED left and MOVED back to the main room, where I found myself facing
mountains of ELECTRONIC GADGETS. I MOVED toward them, and Johnny sat in a
chair across from a SCREEN. I USED the SCREEN several times and saw the news
from Beijing, from which I learned that the powers that be are denying that
NAS exists in China. J-Bone also insinuated himself into my view for the
first time, and gave his message that the "man's" making money off of NAS
and there isn't a cure. I kept USING the SCREEN until no new images showed
up. Then I LOOKED left and found myself contemplating another KEYPAD.
I USED, and entered VIRTUA-VILLE. There, I encountered another short movie
in which the first woman from the vid-phone appears and tells Johnny again
that he needs to rebuild the rig and that she's hidden the download code
information in three locations in Virtua-ville. This is an important
distinction: information in Virtua-ville, code in Newark. But when I
listened to this the first time through, I didn't catch it. Instead my
reaction was: oh my. Is it Newark? Is it Virtua-ville? Where the heck are
the dataports? And why in tarnation is this nice lady trying to confuse me
As an aside, I played this sequence (the bedroom and the chair in front
of the screen) a few times, USING all over the place multiple times to
make sure I didn't skip anything and both times there came a point where
Jane screamed and Johnny was swept into a fight with that same
Henson-maybe guy -- the exact same fight as the one at the beginning of
the game. If this happens, KICK KICK KICK until he goes down. Then you
can go back to the apartment and continue where you left off. Just
MOVE (or wait for Johnny to) when the fight is over.
Note, however, that you now also have other options in the form of
the "DIRECTION SCREEN" where you land after the Henson fight or after
leaving Johnny's apartment under your own power. Here, for the first
time in the game, you can choose the next place you visit. The default
is Johnny's apartment, and if you do nothing you'll end up there.
"Up" also seems to take you to the apartment, and "down" does nothing, so
you'll end up there unless you choose right or left. Right takes you
to Ralfi's; left to the subway.
In my case, I was certain I wasn't finished in Johnny's apartment,
because I hadn't had a chance to LOOK right while sitting in the chair
in front of the computer screen. So I made my way back to the chair
(LOOK right twice and MOVE) and then LOOKED right again. Johnny was
facing another part of the electronic GADGET, so I USED and sure enough,
he detached some CABLES from some sockets and stuffed them into his
I had also noticed while examining the keypad (LOOK left twice from
where Johnny detached the cables) that there appeared to be another
room -- perhaps a bathroom -- beyond it. I MOVED from the keypad and
entered this room, which was, in fact, a BATHROOM. When Johnny stopped
walking, he was facing the BATHTUB. USING here gave a close up view of the
SHOWER HEAD. LOOKING right made Johnny turn to the BASIN. USING at the
BASIN few times caused him to contemplate his reflection in the mirror
above it, as well as the data seepage that appeared to be continuing. Jane
walked in during one of these USES and promised Johnny that they would get
the data out.
I LOOKED right two more times and faced the... Johnny. I USED
here several times, hoping Johnny would opt for technical instead of
crude, and was relieved that the only two things he did were flush the
TOILET and open its tank to take some MONEY hidden there.
At this point, I decided to consult the game booklet. I knew I had
seen a description of the items that make up the rig somewhere. Turns out
the items needed are listed on page 16: (1) data goggles, (2)
interlocking bi-directional cables, and (3) a mini-ROM reader. Nice,
I thought. Those cables Johnny had picked up to the right of the chair
might be interlocking bi-directional ones. But of course, since there is
no subtitle option and Johnny didn't jump up and down shrieking "Eureka!
Interlocking bi-directional cables!" when he picked them up, I had no
idea whether they were actually the ones I needed. And I'd seen goggles
before, on the bedside table. I didn't expect them to be the right ones
(too obvious) but I tried it anyway just in case. As I suspected, Johnny
wouldn't take them, he just kept having the same flashback from the
beginning of the game and putting them down again.
While I was in the BEDROOM, I checked the bookshelf again and found
nothing new. I also checked the second BEDSIDE TABLE again and bizarrely,
the CARDS Johnny had picked up before were there again when I USED and he
took them again. I kept trying to USE at this TABLE after getting the CARDS
again to make sure I hadn't missed anything and guess what? I got dragged
into that fight with Henson from the beginning of the game yet again. This
was really starting to get old, so after kicking Henson down yet another
time, I decided to leave Johnny's apartment and go somewhere else.
Ralfi's sounded like a good idea, since circumstances (ahem) had
prevented me from exploring there on my last visit. I left Johnny's
apartment and LOOKED right at the direction screen to go to Ralfi's.
JUST BUSINESS: Back at Ralfi's
Once at Ralfi's for the second time, movie mode starts and Johnny finds
that Jane is very curious about his wet-wiring and what must have been erased
from his memory to make room for the data. She asks about his memories, his
parents. He turns the question around on her and she answers that she has
one parent that she never sees. Then she announces that she's going to look
for their "friends" and walks off, leaving Johnny alone to poke around
As soon as Jane left, Johnny was facing a DESK. I MOVED toward it and
then USED. Johnny examined the DESK. I USED again and he found an
unusual device that appeared to be a MAGNIFYING GLASS of sorts, with lights
around its edges. He inspected it and put it down. I LOOKED right to a
VID-PHONE and USE gave me a closer look at it. I then LOOKED left twice and
USED twice. Johnny adjusted the settings on some sort of GADGET and then
USED the MAGNIFYING GLASS to read a piece of paper, which turned out to be
in a language other than English. This paper mentioned the Grand Elegance
Hotel. Johnny then secreted the paper in a desk drawer. I continued to USE
in this direction to make sure I hadn't missed anything. I USED four times,
and each time I did, Johnny repeated the sequence with the MAGNIFYING
GLASS and a different language appeared on the paper. The fourth time,
English appeared. The English translation announced a package scheduled
for delivery. Johnny then folded the paper and placed it in his jacket.
I didn't get anything else by USING in this spot after that sequence.
Next I LOOKED left and MOVED twice until I was facing the DOOR TO RALFI'S.
Here, I LOOKED right and saw a number of PHOTOS. I USED here and watched a
video clip that confirmed that the female ninja-type who challenged Jane
before was indeed Pretty (and I wasn't). After that, I LOOKED left and USED
to see another film clip. Apparently, I was looking at promotional materials
for some of the "talent" that Ralfi represented. I LOOKED right twice and
USED. Pretty scary how much that guy looks like Johnny, isn't it? You'll be
delighted to learn that this character is being marketed as "a regular Fort
Knox" and has a 180 Gb storage capacity. Him and Einstein. If it is
Johnny, too bad they've stuffed over 300 Gb in there.
I next LOOKED right again and MOVED twice. Now Johnny was sitting on
Ralfi's SOFA facing a small SCREEN. I USED here and a propaganda film about
New Newark started. As Johnny was watching it, Jane called to him to hurry.
When the film was over, Johnny was facing an item that looked for all the
world like a MINI-ROM DRIVE, which he needed to reconstruct his rig. I USED
and Johnny took it. Then I LOOKED right and saw a rumpled JACKET slung over
the sofa. USE here until Johnny discovers what looks to be a CHIP in a
packet and some GOGGLES, which were the only items I found here. Johnny
took them both. I LOOKED left twice -- another strange GADGET on Ralfi's
floor. I got no results by USING it.
Just to be thorough now that I had some items that were apparently
from Ralfi's jacket, I went back to the DESK before leaving the office
and USED the VID-PHONE there. To my partial surprise, I was able to view a
message that had apparently been stored in one of the items Johnny had
picked up. And I learned... not much at all from it.
I should note that the longer you take to explore Ralfi's the more
likely it is that you'll get drawn into another fight between Jane and
Pretty, just as you were drawn into the fight between Johnny and Henson
while investigating Johnny's apartment. This can happen multiple times
depending on how long you fiddle around in the office. Each time it
happened to me, I did my KICK number on Pretty till she went ker-splash
in a nearby fountain, then just went back to Ralfi's (RIGHT at the
direction screen) and continued where I had left off. I wasn't at all
impressed with this design "feature." It became flat out boring after
awhile to have to keep fighting these fights and the impediment to
progress was quite annoying.
I decided at this point go back to the subway, since, as with Ralfi's,
I had been rather rushed there last time I'd been there. I had developed
a short term goal of going back to the lab after looking around the
subway and trying to download at the Ono-Sendai machine there. I
was pretty sure at this point that I had what I needed to construct
the data rig since I'd found goggles, a mini-ROM and something that
might be the right cables. I also felt fairly confident that the lab
contained one of the three data ports (either by Newark or Virtua-ville
standards, since I was still laboring under my initial misconception about
what the woman in the vid-phone had told me) because the machine there had
the same setup as the one in Johnny's apartment that had accessed
Virtua-ville before. But what happened next totally confused me.
URBAN SPELUNKER: The Subway
Upon arriving in the subway for the second time, we were facing
a RAILING. MOVE took me face to face with Squatter, who was
chortling in a very silly manner. I MOVED again, and Johnny walked
past the TURNSTILE and came up against Squatter again. I USED, and
Johnny offered Squatter the MONEY he'd taken from the toilet for
Squatter's RIG. Squatter wouldn't give his rig up, but he did
give Johnny the extra RIG he had for his (now deceased) dog. (Note that if
you don't have the MONEY and you USE on Squatter a couple of times, Johnny
will just relieve him of the GOGGLES.) Here's where I started to get
confused. I was left wondering why I needed to buy a rig when I'd been told
to construct one and sent on a quest to recover the necessary pieces --
which I thought I'd done, or at least come very close to doing.
When Johnny had taken the rig, he was facing a walkway. I wanted to
see whether I could get anything more from Squatter, so I LOOKED
right twice to go back to where he had been standing -- but he had
disappeared. USING here only gave me a view of WATER dripping down a
wall. I LOOKED right to face the TURNSTILE. USE here caused Johnny
to lift a panel on the TURNSTILE mechanism and reveal another one of
those GADGETS I'd seen at Ralfi's on the desk and to the left of the sofa,
then replace the panel. I LOOKED right to the walkway again and MOVED to
take a step down it, then LOOKED left. There was a PHONE here, and when I
USED it, the Gobble Net Girl told me she wasn't in service at this time.
Typical. After all, it's a subway phone.
Next I LOOKED right and MOVED again. I seemed to have come to the end of
the walkway. USE here gave only a close up view of a POSTER on the PILLAR
I found myself facing. I LOOKED right and MOVED again, and Johnny crossed
the subway tracks. He stopped in front of an odd, ELECTRONIC GIZMO that
spoke to him. I've certainly never seen anything like it, even in New York
(but then again, this was Newark). It might have been a cross between a
subway ticket vending machine and a maintenance station. I USED here and
Johnny put on a RUBBER GLOVE (which I believe is what I thought was the piece
of cloth he found behind the picture of Jane in Spider's lab earlier) and
placed his hand on the machine's IDENTITY READER. This, we were meant to
believe, fooled the machine into thinking he's a transit worker, so much so
that it opened a PANEL on its side. Inside was another of those GADGETS like
the ones at Ralfi's and the one in the turnstile, as well as a KEY. Johnny
took the KEY and the panel shut.
I then LOOKED left to find another MACHINE. USE made Johnny insert
the KEY. This MACHINE appeared to me to control the power source for
the subway's rails. A METER in the machine showed some numbers
decreasing, but I could not determine exactly what they meant. I tried
this several times, and the same thing happened each time.
When I was finished playing around with USE on the machine, I was facing
the subway TUNNEL head-on. MOVE, LOOK left and MOVE, took me under the
GRATING that saved Johnny and Jane when the train sped past at the beginning
of the game. Johnny stepped out of here on his own. Then I LOOKED right
twice, MOVED, LOOKED right, MOVED and LOOKED right to check out the one spot
in the subway we hadn't examined until now -- another RAILING. I USED. Oh.
So this was where the HOOK Squatter had given Johnny came in. I uttered
an audible humph and decided to move on.
Now I felt as though I had pretty much exhausted the subway, so I
LOOKED left, MOVED, LOOKED left and USED to go back into the lab.
RETURN TO THE PLANET OF THE SPIDER: Back in the Lab
I used the same basic routine in the lab the second time as I had the first,
and on the assumption that you're now familiar with the lab, I'll spare you
repeating the LOOKS and MOVES again. I doubt you'll find yourself needing
to refer to them, but if you do they are they're listed in the HUMP? WHAT
I USED at the RED BOXES, and this time Johnny found an electric drill with
a small CIRCULAR SAW in its bit. He tested it and then pocketed it.
At the TABLE, I USED and found nothing new, just a rehash of the views of
the cryogenic head freezer.
At the body part TANK, I USED. Johnny took out the sardine-KEY shaped tool
and inserted it into a hole at the base of the tank. He turned it, and
a submerged GADGET (another one of those I'd now seen four of elsewhere)
raised up briefly, then lowered back into the tank. USING multiple times
here yielded the same result.
At the HUTCH, I USED and Johnny took the RED CASE out of the drawer and
used the CIRCULAR SAW he'd just picked up to hack through the case's lock.
He opened the case, examined it, flashed back to reading the message about
the delivery at Ralfi's office, took out the sheet of PAPER he'd translated,
and compared the letterhead on the paper to the writing inside the CASE. He
then replaced the CASE in the drawer. USING again gave only another view of
the NAS literature Johnny had examined earlier.
Back at the BULLETIN BOARD, I USED and Johnny eavesdropped on a video
intercom message from Jane to Spider. It was about Johnny, but wasn't very
instructive. I LOOKED right and USED at the YELLOW CURTAIN. Oooooooh....
Spider and Jane! I was definitely interrupting something here, but at least
they were fully clothed. Whew. How embarrassing.
I sat Johnny back down at the ONO-SENDAI MACHINE. Before I tested my
hypothesis about this device accessing one of the data ports, I wanted
to make sure I'd covered all the other bases. I USED on the table with the
glass CABINET. This time Johnny took another MINI-ROM READER. More
confusion. Why did he need another one? We now had two sets of goggles
(one from Squatter that might have already been "rigged" with cables), two
mini-ROMS, and some other cables. Maybe we had to have two rigs? To
complete the circle, I LOOKED right and USED. Nothing new in the TOOLBOX.
DOWNLOADING at the KEYPAD didn't work, so I USED and was transported to
VIRTUA-VILLE. For some reason, I got it into my head to try to save here
and see if I would return to the same spot after the save. No such luck.
I had to go all the way back to the chair and USE at the keypad again.
ON THE TRAIL OF THE DATAPORTS: Virtua-ville and Newark
Once in VIRTUA-VILLE I sat through the host's rap about the various "shows"
available. Three doors, three options, and bad memories of Monty Hall
waving a handful of cash as a woman in a chicken suit scratches around in
the unfathomable depths of her handbag for a clothespin.
The left door would allow me to visit the RAINFORESTS of Costa Rica; the
center door, the GOBI DESERT; and the right door, the middle of the PACIFIC
OCEAN. Costa Rica rang a distant bell. I went back to the game booklet and
found, at page 14, a reference to Costa Rica in the context of the transfer
of someone called Dr. Allcome's payment for the data Johnny was carrying.
This sounded promising, so as soon as the Virtua-ville host finished his
spiel, I MOVED, LOOKED left, and MOVED again to enter the RAINFOREST.
The host started gabbing again and I just waited for him to stop before
I started to explore.
It soon became painfully apparent that the rainforest was a maze. Once
I discovered this, I let Johnny walk back to the start on his own and started
over after getting out my trusty graph paper (don't go gaming without it)
so that I could map it. I must say, mapping this thing was a total
bummer because of the lack of full control you have over the movement
interface. If you wait too long (as in, if it takes too long to draw your
square on the graph paper), Johnny will start walking back out of the maze
on his own and then it's hard to determine where you left off. Also,
as you've probably found out by now, sometimes MOVING doesn't take you
where you wanted to go on the first try if you've hit the MOVE key at the
letter screen too late. This is deadly for mapping because if you hit what
seems to be a boundary to the maze, which you can tell from the static on
your screen, then turn and hit more static, you can't be completely certain
whether you've hit different static or the same static (i.e., whether you've
actually moved or not).
I started this maze over and over again because of these issues and kept
trying to map it. Eventually, I ran into the woman from the vid-phone in
Johnny's apartment. These directions took me to where she was, just beyond
a grey-barked tree that was approximately in the center of the screen:
After entering the rainforest, LOOK right, MOVE, MOVE, LOOK left, MOVE,
LOOK right, MOVE, LOOK left, MOVE, LOOK left, MOVE.
You then see a movie mode segment in which the woman tells Johnny that he
has to hook up to certain specific data ports that she will direct
him to to avoid frying himself, and shows him a picture of the FIRST DATA
PORT. I found it infuriating that this picture (as well as the second and
third ones, described below) showed up for all of a couple of seconds and I
couldn't figure out how to retrieve it. Luckily, I recognized the spot
she'd shown Johnny because of the blue chart at the upper right hand side.
It was the BULLETIN BOARD in Spider's lab.
I let Johnny walk out of the maze and Virtua-Ville on his own, then saved
my game. Once back in the lab, I went back to the BULLETIN BOARD and
DOWNLOADED. Johnny put together his rig and hooked it up to the GADGET at
the base of the bulletin board, making it apparent that the various GADGETS
I'd seen in different locations up to this point were DATA PORTS. The
"downloading" took place without a hitch. It seemed to free up some of
Johnny's own lost memories as a field of yellow flowers spread
across the screen after this portion of the downloading was completed.
What works once sometimes works again is typically a useful maxim for me,
so of course, I tried DOWNLOADING at that data port again. It didn't work.
But what _did_ work was returning to the spot in the RAINFOREST where
I'd found the woman before. Once there, she appears again and shows Johnny
the location of the SECOND DATA PORT.
It occurred to me as I met the woman for the second time that it was,
perhaps, unnecessary to go wandering around the Gobi Desert and the Pacific
Ocean at this point since she seemed to be willing to make repeat performances
in the rainforest. And indeed, this turned out to be the case, as I only
met her in the RAINFOREST during my game and was able to get all the
information I needed to finish. I did, however, take a break after finding
the first data port to look for her in the GOBI DESERT. She was there, but
she didn't have anything different to say -- she just showed Johnny the
second data port location again and it was the same location she'd showed him
in the RAINFOREST. For the purists among you, I'll include the directions
to her hangouts in the desert and the ocean as they appeared in my game.
GOBI DESERT: LOOK left, MOVE, LOOK right, MOVE, LOOK right, MOVE, MOVE.
PACIFIC OCEAN: MOVE, LOOK left, MOVE, LOOK left, MOVE, LOOK left, MOVE. (I
don't quite get this last one as it just takes you in a circle, but I tried
it three times in my game and it was the same every time.)
Unfortunately, the second time I visted this woman, I had no idea what
the location was that she was showing Johnny. I was glad that I had saved
after the first "downloading," because I had to go back to the RAINFOREST
several times to get another glimpse of the second port. Before it dawned
on me what the second picture the woman was showing me actually depicted, I
fried poor Johnny at: (1) the turnstile port, (2) the subway phone, (3) the
port on the counter under the photos in the frame in which you're facing the
picture that might be of Johnny in Ralfi's office (which port noticed for the
first time while on this data port hunt), (4) the port on Johnny's bedroom
wall, and (5) the port on Johnny's living room wall, as you're facing the
exit to the apartment (which I also noticed for the first time because I was
searching specifically for data ports).
The more I examined the picture of the second location, the more I realized
that the yellow color at the left of it was not a wall or a background (which
assumptions had led me to make the mistakes above), but something that was
reflecting light. I'd seen a light coming from the same angle at the open
panel in the SUBWAY'S talking GIZMO, where Johnny had taken the key.
Sure enough, this was the SECOND DATA PORT and I DOWNLOADED here
After saving the game, I ran back to the LAB, fired up the ONO-SENDAI
MACHINE, and hopped through the RAINFOREST again to the woman from the
vid-phone. This time she shows Johnny a location I recognized without a
doubt: it was the port on the floor next to Ralfi's SOFA. After Johnny took
himself out of Virtua-ville, I high-tailed it to Ralfi's, sat on the SOFA,
LOOKED left and DOWNLOADED. The now familiar movie mode view of some sort of
electronic data moving took place. At the end a screen appeared that
stated something about PharmaPath and NAS, and the cryptic suggestion that
the data was ready for downloading. Then I saw Johnny's eye, and that was
the last thing I saw until I had a very unpleasant surprise.
AN EXEGESIS ON SOFTWARE FRUSTRATIONS: The Disk 2 Fiasco
After movie mode ended, the Gobble Net Girl told me to insert disk 2. In
any multi-CD game I've ever played, this experience is never the most fun
of the lot since it requires you to make a quick judgment as to whether the
pizza grease is sufficiently banished from your fingertips to trust them to
the disk changing process. But it has always given me a feeling of
accomplishment, and has always been pretty painless. Just take out the old
CD, stick in the new one, and continue.
Except in this game. Here, as I was inserting the second disk, I was
suddenly dropped out of the game to the JOHNNY MNEMONIC Windows icon. I
tried to start up again once I got disk 2 inserted, but when I tried to
call up my last saved game, I got a message from the program saying that
disk 1 hadn't been completed so the saved game wouldn't take me to disk 2.
Excuse me. Wasn't I just told to insert disk 2? And now you want
to blame me for the fact that my saved game won't take me there?
"Ok then, I'll play it your way," I said aloud to my screen. "I'll go
back and save." I tried saving during the beginning and middle of the third
"download." I tried saving at the end of the third "download," when the NAS
screen appears. I tried saving right before the Gobble Net Girl appeared to
tell me to insert disk 2 and right after. All of these saved games produced
the same message when I tried to call them up after inserting disk 2. I
tried just hitting the X key and pausing the game while I inserted the disk.
I felt the tears starting to well in my eyes as the last of these failed to
work and produced some ear-shattering static through my speakers.
I started to think that perhaps there was no way to do what it was that
I was setting out to do, at least on my system. So I went searching for
answers. I found nothing in the game booklet to address this point and
nothing on the Sony Web site listed in the booklet. I did, however, get
some responses to a message I had posted in The Gamers' Forum on CompuServe.
It appeared that I was not alone, and that this exact same thing had
happened to at least two other people.
One of these folks told me that he had concluded that you couldn't save,
and he had determined that you had to proceed with the game by using the
disk 2 button that appears when you start the game from disk 2. The other
told me that he had been able to save right when the Gobble Net Girl
appeared, but before she said anything.
I decided to call Sony, and this is what I learned: the data ports
that Johnny is supposed to use can be different depending on how the game
has been played up to the transition between disk 1 and disk 2. Apparently,
the last data port in my game may have been responsible for a bug in the
transition. I was asked to examine my MNEMONIC\ENGINE directory for the
file CINEACTV.MPP. I was told that file contains the game data from disk 1
and is created after disk 1 is finished. I did have this file in my
directory, so tech support told me to just start with disk 2 and I wouldn't
be missing much of anything. I can't say that this made a great deal of
sense to me since I wasn't able to call up my saved game, but I figured Sony
probably knew better than I did.
SOME PIECES BEGIN TO FIT: Spider, a Weird Holy Man, and the Yakuza
What was missing from my game, according to Sony, was a movie mode scene
after DOWNLOADING at the THIRD DATA PORT in which Johnny becomes ill and is
taken to Spider's. This accounts for the disjointed feeling I had when I hit
the disk 2 button and Johnny was no longer at Ralfi's.
Disk 2 begins in movie mode in Spider's LAB, where Jane and Spider flit
nervously around Johnny while Spider explains that what Johnny has stored in
his head was all of the R&D information from a company called PharmaPath
relating to the cure for NAS! Spider also reveals that the woman from the
vid-phone is Anna K., PharmaPath's founder, who is now dead in body, but
remains alive in mind through the transfer of her cognitive qualities into
some form of AI. Spider, it turns out, is also Dr. Allcome, and he's setting
about taking the data out of Johnny. (Of course, if you've seen the movie,
you already know about Anna, the nature of the data, and that Spider is a
part of the underground community of doctors who are trying to deal with the
rampant problem of NAS which affects half the world's population, regardless
of what they're saying in Beijing.)
This sequence caused a big "wait just a minute here" on my part, because I
had interpreted the "downloading" I had just done at the three data ports
as downloading the data. I considered for awhile, and decided that what had
happened, despite the fact that I had used the game's download command, was
this: I had not actually downloaded; I had obtained the three parts of the
download code and that Johnny was now primed to have the information
_actually_ downloaded. That's what the message at the end of
disk 1 on the NAS screen had been trying to tell me. How much less confusing
it would have been had there been a separate key for the process of obtaining
the download code as opposed to actually downloading it.
Still in movie mode, we cut to the subway where a new baddie, Street
Preacher is shooting the breeze with Squatter. Street Preacher then
crashes Spider's lab and interrupts the downloading efforts by dispatching
Spider. Jane and Johnny run out of the lab and onto the subway platform.
Jane tells the faltering Johnny that she's going to take him to J-Bone.
Then Street Preacher catches up to them and engages Jane in a fight.
Although this fight is a little more tricky than the others I'd
encountered before, I found, after some persistence, that I was able to
get through it repeatedly with a slight alteration to my previous strategy.
Jane will take a few hits, but it's worth it -- because when she does, you
know exactly where she'll be when it's over.
In this fight, I BLOCKED the first time Street Preacher attacked, and
then used nothing but KICK. However, I didn't use it just as the letter
screen appeared. Instead, I used it _before_ the letter screen appeared,
every time I got a stop-action shot on Jane. This seemed to make her
avoid most of Street Preacher's blows by swooping down toward the ground and
kicking low -- or thwapping him head-on if he was in the right posture.
Note that if she gets hit while she's kicking, she'll jump in the air and
turn around until she's facing forward again. The stop-action shot I used
here was the one right when she faced forward. I got to the point where I
could hit KICK instantaneously with this stop-action shot. I don't know if
this was a quirk with the way the game ran on my system or not, but it worked
for me. If you're blessed with completely smooth video, try timing your
KICKS so that you direct them immediately before the point of view switches
from Jane to Street Preacher and maybe this will replicate my technique.
As Street Preacher goes down, he screams "You're going to burn in the fire,"
then there's a movie mode sequence in which Shinji and Co. appear as Jane
and Johnny are hiding behind a pillar in the subway. Our heroes discuss their
situation and note that three Yakuza is going to be a problem. When movie
mode ends, they're facing the door that leads to Spider's lab. I USED here.
Doo doo. It was locked, and while I was trying to open it, Jane and Johnny
were incinerated by a Yakuza flamethrower. I should have known the intercom
was there for a reason.
Saving after the victory over Street Preacher hadn't helped me to
avoid having to fight him again to get back to this point, so I had to
go through the entire fight again. Afterwards, I LOOKED right and tried
to USE hoping that Johnny would grab the pipe hanging in front of the POSTER
to do a Tarzan number (after all, Jane was right there), but this didn't
work either. So I had to bop Street Preacher yet again.
After the next time I'd started over and knocked down Street Preacher, I
LOOKED left twice and MOVED. Jane and Johnny ran across the subway TRACKS
and stopped in front of the GIZMO. I held my breath, doubting very seriously
that Johnny still had the rubber glove since I hadn't been able to start from
a saved game. Luckily, he didn't need it. I had to USE twice before
Johnny committed, but when he did, he grabbed the GIZMO, which directed a
bolt of electricity at Henson. After Henson went all crispy, we were facing the
GRATING. I LOOKED right and MOVED toward the exit. Jane and Johnny
clambered up and out of the subway, with Shinji close behind. Shinji cut off
his own route when he blasted the rungs Jane and Johnny had climbed up to
HEAVEN CAN'T WAIT: In Heaven with J-Bone and the LoTeks
Movie mode went into high gear once Jane and Johnny made it out of the
subway. J-Bone is waiting for them and takes them up to "Heaven." If you've
seen the movie, you know this is the above ground "underground" headquarters
built under a bridge. Here the LoTeks live and work, "outing" important
information that the big corporations would prefer hidden from the masses.
They're well equipped for wide-band broadcasting.
J-Bone tells Johnny his plan: Johnny will download the cure through
J-Bone's setup, a neuro-binary translator, and J-Bone will broadcast it to
the far corners of the globe. Johnny's initial reaction is to resist, but
Jane implores him to help and he gives in immediately. J-Bone sets about
preparing for the downloading and broadcast.
Of course, just as the downloading starts, who should appear but the Yakuza.
The scene erupts into chaos as J-Bone tries to get Johnny and Jane out the
back way. During the madness, Jane gets some well-placed kicks in and sends
Shinji over the side of Heaven, into what might be Newark Bay. J-Bone takes
a slug in the shoulder, and yells to Johnny, who is in some type of hydraulic
lift, that he must reconnect the broadcast signal and download "direct."
When movie mode ends, Johnny's above where J-Bone and the rest are, facing
a bank of computer screens, controls and switches. It's a good idea to save
here, so you can be assured that you won't have to go through the subway
sequence again. You're about to encounter the only real puzzle in the game,
and it may take a few tries to solve it.
I found out as I was messing around with the various machines just to see
what they did that I was under some time pressure here. If you don't get
the right settings on all the machines and download before time's up, the
game ends here and you have to go back to your saved game. If you download
without the settings on the computers adjusted properly, Johnny dies. So
I decided to approach this methodically, taking my time to see what all the
options were even if I had to start over because time ran out. I reasoned
that this would prepare me to make a serious attempt to set the machines.
I started by MOVING forward so that I was close to the machines, then
LOOKING left four times. I was facing the far left control. This is a
POWER SWITCH; it's a toggle with two options, ON and STANDBY as I found out
by USING here several times. I then LOOKED right to the POWER SETTING
CONTROL. USING here several times revealed that this control has three
settings: 1/3 power, 2/3 power and overload. I LOOKED right again and
discovered a CONNECTOR CONTROL. USING numerous times showed me three
possible settings here: emergency in/out, a damaged hard drive, and
I LOOKED right again and found an ENCRYPTION PROTOCOL SELECTOR. USE and
you'll see four settings: Secon Script XX, ISDN-559 Data Flo, Gro-well 9488
and Zuur Anti-block. USING changes them from one to the other, but the
kludginess of the interface makes it a little hard to predict which one
will come up with each USE. After this, I LOOKED right and saw the screen
I'd faced at the start -- it's an INFORMATIONAL SCREEN that will either
tell you the transmission is blocked or it isn't depending on the encryption
other settings you've chosen, notably (as I found out later) whether the
satellite dish is "active."
The next thing I saw when I LOOKED right was the most difficult to
interpret. It was a GRAPHICAL DISPLAY (a Sony -- how cute) which might have
controlled wave-length, but didn't disclose exactly what it did. I also
found it difficult to tell whether this display had two or three settings.
USE definitely made some sort of change because Johnny turned a knob. I
tried to count the number of different turns he made as I USED, but was still
unable to tell with certainty whether it had two or three settings. As
it turned out, it didn't really matter.
I LOOKED right again. This time, I saw the EMERGENCY I/O HOOKUP. USE
did nothing for me here, but DOWNLOAD did -- it sent Johnny to an untimely
RIGHT from the EMERGENCY I/O HOOKUP led to two screens (more Sonys -- more
cute) which, at the time, were showing nothing but static. USING here caused
Johnny to manipulate a button, but resulted in nothing but more static.
I'll call this the SATELLITE CONTROL.
RIGHT from the TWO SCREENS led to another screen (you guessed it) with
a satellite dish depicted on it and the message "stand by." USE toggled
it between ACTIVE and STAND BY. This was the SATELLITE SWITCH.
Initially, I thought it would be a good idea to keep both the power switch
and the satellite switch on stand by and then flip them both once I got
the rest of the settings right, but I found out that with the power switch
on stand by, I couldn't get much of anything else to work. So I left the
POWER SWITCH at the ON position.
I had pretty much decided that the CONNECTOR CONTROL had to be set to
EMERGENCY I/O because that was the only DOWNLOAD option near by. So I set
it to EMERGENCY I/O and left it there while I tried a number of other
things. I turned out to be right about this in the long run.
I flipped the SATELLITE SWITCH to ACTIVE to see what would happen. This
brought the SATELLITE CONTROL alive. I now saw identical views of a
satellite dish on each screen, and now when I USED here, the positions
of the dish changed. I found four positions in all -- back right, back left,
front left, and front right views -- but I didn't find the last of these
until after I'd fried Johnny a couple of times.
The most confusing part of this puzzle to me was the mixed message
the INFORMATION SCREEN gave if you adjusted the ENCRYPTION PROTOCOL SELECTOR
from its initial setting. On the one hand, it said broadcast was blocked.
On the other hand, this same screen said that it was set for no encryption.
It seemed to me that I'd want to have an unencrypted message for this
broadcast, and the game didn't give me any clues as to why I'd want to use
encryption and if so what kind -- except that I had to use some sort of
encryption because the ENCRYPTION PROTOCOL SELECTOR didn't seem to have a
In any event, I tried it with the blocking message (and with other
wrong settings, as it turned out) and Johnny died. So I went back and USED
until it was set for Gro-well 9488, which gave me an all clear message on the
INFORMATION SCREEN. But this alone didn't save Johnny.
It took a few tries, but I eventually discovered some settings that worked:
power on, power set to 2/3, I/O connector, Gro-well 9488 protocol,
satellite control showing the dish pointing forward and to the right, and
satellite switch set to active. I stumbled into the correct setting on
the GRAPHICAL DISPLAY by USING it last until I got a message "uplink
successful." Then I LOOKED right to the EMERGENCY I/O HOOKUP and
WELCOME TO VIRTUAL SAMURAI 3000: Virtua-ville Revisited
I was disappointed to find myself back in Virtua-ville -- the shows hadn't
changed, and the host was still giving the same spiel. And I had to go
back through that maze again, since there weren't any other options.
I picked my favorite, the RAINFOREST, and returned to where Anna had been
(see ON THE TRAIL OF THE DATA PORTS above) when I'd been looking for the
locations of the data ports that held the download code. This time, I found
myself face to face with the Virtual Samurai. I soon discovered that despite
his warrior get-up and his threatening speech, he was basically a wimp.
KICK immediately at each letter screen dispatched him post-haste. Just for
fun, if you feel like it, let him get a few blows in and watch Johnny have
his head chopped off or be cleaved down the middle, then reassemble himself.
Ah, the joys of virtual reality. Be aware, however, that if you tempt fate,
you might end up back at the beginning of the Heaven movie sequence even if
you saved after getting the "uplink successful message." That's what
happened to me, although the machines remained at their correct settings, so
all I had to do was download and go back to meet the samurai again.
After we defeated the samurai, we went into movie mode. Anna appeared and
stretched out her hand; Johnny placed his palm to palm with hers. This
triggered the download. Afterwards, Anna congratulated him on its success,
and revealed that she was, after all this, his mother. This was the one
place where the game was clearer on a plot mechanism than the movie. The
screenplay had been quite pointed about this, but was obviously changed
FIGHT AND FINISH: The Endgame
Still in movie mode, Anna takes her leave, and Johnny returns to the
non-virtual world. One would think now would be time for rejoicing, but
no... it's not over yet. A Yakuza shows up, and J-Bone lets him know he's
outnumbered and would be well advised not to pick a fight. But Jane yells,
"He's mine!" even though the LoTeks are offering to off him. Now why did
she have to go and do that?
In this fight, I departed from my kick method because it wasn't meeting
with great success, and substituted PUNCH immediately at each letter screen.
I died a few times before I arrived at the PUNCH solution, and ended up
having to start over at the computer bank in Heaven even though I had
saved after Virtua-ville. This did not bring a smile to my face.
PUNCH, however, worked well. When the Yakuza fell, the LoTeks, with
J-Bone and Jane in the lead, slapped him into the chair they'd planned to
use for Johnny's downloading. In the don't-ask-for-something-or-you-might-
get-it vein, they're now gonna give this Yakuza the data he wants so badly
by mainlining it into his brain. Jane yells to Johnny to "download
everything!" and he finds himself back up at the computer bank.
I found that I couldn't turn off the SATELLITE SWITCH by USING, nor could
I change the SATELLITE CONTROL. So I just went for it, and changed the
CONNECTOR CONTROL to NEURO-BINARY TRANSLATOR -- which I knew was the
contraption the Yakuza was sitting in since J-Bone had mentioned its name
before. Then I LOOKED right four times to the EMERGENCY I/O HOOKUP
and DOWNLOADED. Bye bye Yakuza. Rather like watching execution by electric
After a short movie mode clip in which everybody's happy happy happy --
Johnny's got the data out of his head, the Yakuza are vanquished, and
the world has the cure for NAS -- the credits roll.
JOHNNY MNEMONIC is an ambitious project that unfortunately doesn't live up
to its promise as a game. It had a few good moments, decent acting, and a
fairly well-written (albeit somewhat disjointed) script. However, I got the
feeling that the game was developed by people who just don't play games,
because I can't imagine any serious gamer enjoying this interface and engine,
and certainly no serious adventure gamer would be satisfied with only one
true puzzle in an entire game.
The lack of inventory control, the saved game function that still resulted in
having to replay numerous scenes, the lack of a mechanism for identifying
items by the names the designers had in mind, the repetitive and unsatisfying
combat, the unresponsive movement controls, and above all, the inability to
pass from disk 1 to disk 2 through a saved game at all possible transition
points or a clear direction to start from disk 2 regardless of success at
saving all detracted from the game and made it nonrecommendable and
unmemorable. Sony, if you're listening...