Bonus Level: As long as I’m stuck down here forever, I might as well have a look around
So the bonus level takes place in the cellars and the Phantom’s domain—which, as I mentioned in the previous installment, is something that really should have been included in the game proper. It’s such an essential part of the story, and such a great opportunity for visual creativity. The designers in this instance seem to be drawing inspiration from the Paris Catacombs, with lots of skulls and bones and stone and iron. Nice and classic.
Objective-wise, it’s pretty much the same as the game proper—get objects, solve puzzles, find the black rose. Story-wise there’s no significant additions to mitigate the abrupt and unsatisfying official ending, but there are a couple wrinkles here which I find interesting. Ultimately, you’ll have to judge for yourself if the bonus level is worth the extra cost—I liked it, but it’s not something so essential to the enjoyment of the game that I would unequivocally recommend it.
So for starters, we’ll pick up the harp in the skeleton’s arms, which dislodges the skeleton and reveals a stick of dynamite—better take that with us too. HOG on left:
Hey look, they had Vikings fans back then!
The dagger goes in the inventory, which Evelina notes is sharp enough to cut through bone. Well, there’s plenty of that around, but I’m pretty sure she means this skeleton just to the side of the HOG:
Pick up the box of matches, and cut the ribcage with the dagger to reveal a gem shard. And just for shiggles, let’s backtrack a little bit:
The stated objective for this bit every time it comes up is “Defeat the Phantom”—which perplexes me, since you’re giving him what he wants and it’s not really helping Evelina’s circumstances any. In fact, getting past the Phantom only results in her getting trapped deeper in the Opera House. (Trust Erik to pull a Xanatos Gambit on us.) Even Evelina, bless her little heart, is finally cluing into the idea that this might not be the wisest course of action:
But hey, we’re kind of railroaded into the plot at this point, so what else can we do? Shifting a skull to the left of the mirror gets a second gem shard. A third one becomes dislodged in the catacombs when you open the gate by solving the third spring-lock puzzle, opening the way further:
Well, the unusual amount of light coming from the surface (wish we still had that grappling hook) and the hand mirror in the statue’s mouth on left will probably help with that. But first we have another objective of breaking into the old city, which is sealed off down here. Let’s see, there’s a hammer next to the statue, and a column with some loose stone:
Oh, NOW you’re advocating the direct approach? I wanted to grab the pistol from the manager’s office back on the first level, but noooo….Okay, one very non-subtle stick of dynamite coming up.
Hey, apparently it withstood one gunpowder assault from Erik already; I don’t think this little thing is going to tip the scales. Oh, but this is going to be fun. Light the fuse with the matches…FIRE IN THE HOLE!
Hee hee, nothing like making things blow up real good. The explosion reveals the next HOG:
Which looks like some leftover Newsies/Sweeney Todd set pieces. I dunno, wouldn’t any part of Paris that’s underground by now look a little more…medieval?
Pick up the bolt cutters, which Evelina points out can be used to cut chains. Good to know. But right now we need the mirror to reflect some overhead light on the gate statues:
Don’t ask me how that mirror’s reflecting light at two different angles at once; I didn’t write this. Hell, I’m still not entirely convinced we’re not in some bizarre alternate reality or a Lost-style purgatory/afterlife thing, so I’m willing to forgive playing a little fast and loose with the laws of nature.
No kidding. Geez, Erik, you’d think someone was going to try and steal that thing. Now excuse me while I use the bolt cutters to sever the chains so we can...commandeer this boat (nautical term).
There’s a fourth gem shard in the water, which looks like it’s going into the pedestal at right:
Hmmm, interesting. The idea that Erik’s soul has been broken and/or separated from him somehow would do a lot towards explaining why he seems to have regressed to his angry, vengeful state. If there does end up being a sequel to this game, I’d like to see something where Evelina has to restore Erik’s memories or soul or whatever to him, to remind him that he was once better than this, and could be again. Just a thought.
Take the boat across the lake:
”Welcome to your destiny!” Huh, my destiny could use better curtains and maybe a throw rug.
When it comes to Phantom lair designs, I tend to prefer the ones that look a little more deliberately designed or “house-like” as opposed to rough stone walls—I just can’t see an architectural genius like Erik deciding to shack up in a cavern! But this does have some good architectural elements in it, with the columns and the basic look of the “shrine” in the right half of the image. I suppose I can meet this one halfway.
The harp goes in the statue’s hands, but it still needs strings. But never mind that--there’s a gun! Great, now we can go back to Erik and demand to be taken back to the surface or reality or—or I suppose we could just shoot down the fifth gem shard from the arch a couple rooms back, and use that to open the pedestal, that works too.
Oh great, another music puzzle? I still have nightmares about the orchestra door…
Beneath the music is the rose in a triangle-shaped case, with three indentations bearing the images of the Phantom, Christine, and Raoul at the corners. How very meta of Erik. But we’ll get to that later. Taking the music sheet to the shrine door:
Actually, this one isn’t so terrible—but it’s still a little tricky. You have to play the notes in the right order, but also at the right time, when the note lights up—not before or after. Missing a beat sends you back to the start. It gets easier with practice, but I’ve still yet to get through it on my first try.
Finishing the puzzle opens the shrine HOG:
Upon entering Erik’s extensive (but very disorganized) stalker shrine, Christine’s voice is heard telling her daughter to “be strong—but be gentle with his frail heart.” Leaving aside for a moment the question of how exactly Christine is communicating with Evelina right now (assuming it’s not a hallucination or trickery) the advice is sound, as it was these two elements—courage and compassion—which enabled Christine to overcome Erik’s madness in the original.
The very difficult to find heart gem goes into the inventory. Meanwhile, the Newsies/Sweeney scene has reset:
I’m sorry, this HOG still feels weird to me. All the other ones fit with the location, but this is just…a shoeshine chair in the middle of the catacombs. I don’t get it.
The half-coin—which has the Phantom’s mask on it—goes in the inventory. And yes, the first HOG has now also reset:
And we get a second coin, this one with Raoul’s image—“My father? What’s he doing on a coin?” Evelina wonders. Which, for once, is a valid question—Erik very clearly wants to be rid of his rival, so having him figure in this final puzzle is a little odd.
Also in this room is the box for the heart gem:
A very pretty, ornate box, with roses on the corners--beautiful, in fact. (Just stay with me on this.) Opening it reveals the harp strings for the shrine statues:
Each statue reveals a half-mask, which fit into a box located next to the Phantom’s mirror. But before we get to that, let’s do the reset shrine HOG:
Yep, we’re looking for the Christine coin in here and—hey wait a minute, didn’t I find the coin the last time I did this game? *scrolls up* I did, I totally did! And the rose puzzle was revealed by that point, so no fair saying “Oh Evelina wouldn’t have known she needed that at first” to me.
Now for the box:
Hey, what’s Erik doing with a copy of The Monster Book of Monsters?
At first I didn’t connect this box with the one in the catacombs, but then I realized it was designed to look animalistic—or beast-like. What’s more, in order to open this box, you need the harp strings from the ornate box. Beauty and the Beast, connected by music. Fridge Brilliance for the win!
Anyway, the other half of the Phantom coin is in there. Taking them back to the pedestal:
Put the coins in place, open the case, get the rose, yadda yadda.
So yeah, nothing really has changed…or has it? (Well no, not really.)
“What I am is what I am, are you what you are or what…I am what I am, and what I am needs no excuses…I am the walrus, goo-goo-g’joob….I am I said, to no one there…where was I? Oh yeah, don’t touch the freakin’ mask, okay?”
Even though there’s still no real resolution, I like ending it on this note a little better, with the suggestion that history will start repeating itself. I also like Erik’s stance and choice of words here, both of which indicate he equates touching his mask with physical assault and suggests a hint of vulnerability that doesn’t show up much within the game.
And that’s Mystery Legends: The Phantom of the Opera! I had a great time doing this Let’s Play, and I hope you had fun reading it.