Now Playing KOTOR: Search for Bastilla II

Last time, we ran into the classic convoluted RPG quest line in order to find Bastilla.  She was captured by a lower city Tarisian gang known as the Black Vulkars, who are offering her up as a ransom prisoner prize at the next swoop race.  In order to participate in that race on behalf of a rival gang, we need to break into the Vulkar base by infiltrating through the sewers and reacquire the prototype accelerator they stole…so we can win the swoop race.

We continue towards the under city by heading towards the elevator…

…to see some lower city gang politics at work.

This scene exists for a few reasons:  (1) To establish Davik at the top of the food chain when it comes to lower city gang politics.  (2) It shows the ambitions of the Black Vulkar gang are not limited to Brejik himself (and may possibly be an extension of his influence on them).  (3) We get an early look at Canderous Ordo as “guy who is not to be fucked with”.

We’re not bothering with the rakghouls and the related quest regarding the serum for reasons that they are not relevant to the main plot.  Also, the choice of who to give the cure (selfless doctor who creates easily accessible cure for the masses vs. evil crime lord who sells it for profit) is rendered irrelevant by the Sith bombardment of the planet.  The rakghoul disease is only a threat to NPCs (and low health player characters), as all it does to the party is provoke a fortitude save when they’re hit by a rakghoul.  Fail the save and a poison debuff is applied, one that’s easily cured with an antidote item (but the same can’t be used to manufacture a cure…why?  Gameplay/story segregation).

Wookiepedia says rakghouls were the result of a Sith bio-engineering process from an old Sith Lord but I can’t recall that ever coming up in the game.

The quest itself (that of people being taken over by some mysterious disease and the player being in charge of curing them) is a Bioware staple.  It shows up here, in Jade Empire (the creatures near the inn in the forest near Tien’s Landing, where you find Henpecked Hou), Mass Effect (The Thorian) and Dragon Age (the werewolves in the Dalish Forest).

We head down the elevator…

I guess they didn’t try this scam on Sith patrols.

Five credits is small change, so we’ll pay the toll.

I guess being able to see the sun, sky and stars would be nice if you lived in a closed environment where the only light you had was electrical.

Shaleena will direct us to a couple of other NPCs in case we wanted more information but we know we’re looking for Mission and Zaalbar.  A Wookie and a Twi’lek shouldn’t be that hard to find.

Shaleena is also the hook for The Promised Land quest.  She doesn’t start the quest but she does direct you to the guy who does…

The Promised Land quest involves finding a bunch of journals from Rukil’s “disciples” that can be found all around the under city and sewers.  Find all these journals and Rukil will lead the village to find the “Promised Land” (literally, all the village NPCs vanish).  Essentially, the promised land is a self-sufficient fallout shelter with droid servants.  The fate of the outcasts is revealed in The Old Republic.  The Sith bombardment knocks out the power and also results in a toxic radiation leak that slowly contaminates the inhabitants over the centuries until they all die out.  The rakghoul serum helps them survive for a bit but the supply runs out and the survivors realize babies can’t be born with the immunity.

Old Republic really sucks like that.

We head outside the village following an encounter with the rakghouls…

Lucky for us, we don’t have to spend an update (or two) looking for Mission.

Instead, we’re going to have to find Zaalbar (which isn’t too hard).

I realize this is to make Zaalbar look formidible but gameplay-wise, it doesn’t make much sense.  Wookies can’t wear armor and Zaalbar’s dexterity and AC scores are subpar.  Even if he has a +6 on his fortitude save, if the rakghouls hit him enough, he’s going to get hit.  Wookie biology probably works differently than a human’s (perhaps they could handle the rakghoul disease better?) but still, even Zaalbar should have thought twice before going around the under city.

Gamorreans are the ugly boar-looking creatures that served as palace guards for Jabba the Hutt in Return of the Jedi.

Not very light side to ask “favor for a favor” in a situation like this…but it is very practical.

Mission’s not really in a position to say “no”, after all.

The sewers have two entrances, one is very close to the village and accessing that one is the fastest way to find Zaalbar.  Before we head down there, though…

I suppose one would be rather distant if their best friend was kidnapped and about to be sold into slavery.

We asked this question before at Javyaar’s Cantina and got a vague non-answer.  Mission will be a lot more forthcoming about how she met Zaalbar here…

Note how she says Zaalbar is her family here and remember it at the end of the conversation.

I like the dismissive third option.  Why ask someone about a personal life story if you’re not all that interested, unless you’re trying way too hard to be a dick.  A better way to handle it would have been when you notice that Mission seems rather distant, there’s a dialogue option to either coldly ignore her to tell her to focus on the task at hand.

Mission gets really defensive here but I thought it was a legit question.  If Zaalbar is her family and she’s 14 now (and was much younger when she met him), was she really surviving on her own until then?

We decide to drop the conversation before her teenage mood swings again.

We can infer that something happened between Mission and her brother, something so severe she no longer thinks of him as family.

We head down into the sewers from the entrance near the village and find Zaalbar after exploring, like, two rooms…

Good to know that Mission is good for something other than teenage sass.

Carth mentioned we knew a remarkable amount of alien languages but this is another indicator of something strange with our player character.

The game engine usually centers the conversation on whoever is speaking.  Some places (like the sewers here) occasionally don’t do this.  So, what we get is situations like this where Zaalbar is talking but the camera is focused on Mission (who’s giving an excellent “are you sure about this?” expression here).

Zaalbar has a thing against slavery, which will crop up again when we go visit Kashyyyk later.

I like how the game captures the feel of the original Star Wars and all but some references feel shoe-horned in, like the “walking carpet” dialogue here.

This isn’t entirely true.  If you go dark side all the way through, you’ll find even a Wookie life debt has limits.

While we appreciate the gesture, our main focus is still to find Bastilla and escape Taris.  It’ll be hard enough trying to escape with just Carth, Bastilla and ourselves…add another two to the mix?

One of my favorite dialogue options in the game.

Mission’s required for the trip to the Vulkar base, at least up to the force field.  She’s pretty useful in infiltrating the base as well if your character doesn’t have skill ranks in stealth.  We can also only have two party members with us at a given time, so we’ll send Carth back to the apartment and journey with people who have actually been in the sewer system before.

A rancor is the creature Luke Skywalker fights in Jabba the Hutt’s Palace in Return of the Jedi, after he’s fallen through the trap door after failing to assassinate Jabba.

Mission obviously doesn’t exactly know the location because just a few lines ago, she said it was in the north-east.

After fighting through Gamorrean patrols and rakghouls, we come to the force field…

After deactivating the force field and heading down the subsequent sewer passages…

With Mission in the party, we can make her invisible (she comes with a stealth field belt)…

…place a grenade and synthetic odor (the former we have plenty of from looting, the latter from a dead body conveniently found outside the rancor’s lair) in the corpse pile…

…and wait for the rancor to eat a grenade.

Past the rancor lies the entrance to the Black Vulkar base…

We kill all the people in the base (save an innocent serving wench).  The base is two levels deep, so this should really cripple the Vulkar’s gang operations for the foreseeable future.

Finally, we come to the room with the prototype accelerator, guarded by one of Brejik’s lieutenants.

I didn’t kill an entire base of gang members to negotiate!

You can listen to his offer, which is to kill all the people in the Bek base.  It’s the dark side option and offers more XP…but it doesn’t make a lot of sense.  Again, we just shot/hacked our way through an entire base of Black Vulkars…why would we join them now?

After eradicating the last of the Black Vulkars…

…we finally acquire the prototype swoop accelerator!

“Plus, you’re the main character and thus, have plot armor.”

Gadon doesn’t really have all his bases covered.  He already noted we wouldn’t stand a chance at winning without the prototype accelerator, so presumably his other racers won’t win either.  Really, we’re his only hope since he’s unwilling to risk the lives of his gang members.

The race isn’t on a fixed time table so the player can go faff about with side quests before returning to Gadon to begin the race.

But we’re ready now so…

“It won’t be a problem – I hope” is always something I want to hear from a mechanic.

The swoop bike tutorial explanation is pretty lengthy because it’s something you can do for fun and credits on other planets.  Taris is the only time we have to race.

Swoop racing is really similar to drag racing.  It’s not like pod racing where people race on a circular track for a number of laps having to worry about other contestants.  Instead, we race by ourselves and try to reach the finish line as fast as possible.

You can ask him how the swoop accelerator is holding up after each heat.  Really, as long as you don’t hit every obstacle on the track (of which there isn’t that many anyway), you’ll only need two heats.

We can see Bastilla in the cage but can’t interact with her.

Good to know the announcer is on our side.

38 seconds is really easy to beat.  Of course, after you beat it the first time, you have to beat a second time (which is around 27 seconds).  It’s not hard to surpass either.  Do that and you don’t have to race anymore.  Out of five attempts total, the swoop race shouldn’t be hard to win.

So, Brejik, leader of the Black Vulkars, is going to present the prize to a guy racing on behalf of a rival gang?  I’m sure no hijinks will ensue…

There are no rules regarding prototype accelerators (that we know of, anyway) and Brejik was going to use the damn thing himself.

We did sorta kill off an entire base full of his gang so he won’t have the manpower to pull this off.

She then roundhouse kicks the guy with the double-bladed sword…

Bastilla immediately blurts out that she’s a Jedi.  She’s a bit impulsive, arrogant and overly confident…as we’ll see on plenty of occasions.

The low-level Black Vulkar guys are worth taking care of first.  After all the shit we went through to find the prototype accelerator, they’ll go down after one or two hits (especially true if you play soldier).  Then Bastilla and yourself can take down Brejik.

The resulting conversation takes place over Brejik’s corpse…

A long story, indeed.

Bastilla pauses when “You’re…you’re one of the soldiers with the Republic fleet.”  She has to remember that this former Sith Lord has a new identity.

Bastilla’s ego flares up again.

We can string out this conversation but in the interest of shaving a few pictures off this update, let’s pretend I highlighted the third option.

She admits here that we were, indeed, here to save her.  A far cry from what she was saying just a few moments ago.

At least she admits it.

Now that we’ve found Bastilla, we can focus on getting the hell off the tutorial planet!  Next time:  We infiltrate a Sith base and gain access to a crime lord’s estate!


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