Last time in this series we learned how vampires are born, how they survive in the modern nights and dealt with some drug dealers. The last one is just so it wasn't all about vampires. Well, not directly anyway.
This time we get back to dealing with some spooky things and some not-so spooky ones.
SPOILER WARNING: this post will spoil most of the story for the first chapter of this game.
Our current goal is to get into a Sabbat warehouse to blow it up into smithereens. To get there we need the help of a vampire called Bertram Tung. But since this is a game and things are rarely that easy, Tung is hiding due to a feud with another vampire called Therese Voerman.
Before passing out from his wounds, Mercurio tells us that Therese runs a nightclub, with her sister Jeanette, called Asylum. That is where we are headed next.
Just as we enter into the club we are welcomed by a vampire wearing some really skimpy clothes. This is Jeanette and during our brief interchange we also find out she is very flirty.
After our talk she goes into a private elevator to the second floor. Since our business here is with Therese we have to ask the bartender to let us into the second floor.
Obviously he is a bit weary, asking if we are being expected. Since I have the persuasion skill for it I decided to go with the most amusing option and told him I am here to talk about the bartender job they need to fill in right away. The bartender isn't happy about these news at all but he let us into the second floor anyway.
The bad side of picking this choice is that I can't come back later to tell him my woes. Not that it would change anything in the game, it was just something funny I always liked to do. XD
As we get to the second floor, we can hear Jeanette and Therese having a really bad argument beyond a closed door. When it ends we can hear Jeanette locking herself up in the bathroom and we are allowed to enter into the office.
Inside we meet Therese, who is pretty much the opposite of her sister. She dresses and talks like the CEO of a big company.
Talking with Therese we discover that the reason for the feud with Tung is because she believes he meddles in her affairs in Santa Monica.
Fortunately for us Therese is willing to call off the feud. Unfortunately for us she will only do that if we do a job for her first.
The job is this: Therese owns a piece of property that is giving her trouble due to it being haunted by ghosts. I mean literally haunted by ghosts. It is not some other vampire or anything.
All we need to do is go inside the house, find some item of significance to the ghosts and bring it back to her. If we do that she will let Tung know that the feud was called off.
If this sounds too easy too be true, again, you would fit right into vampiric society.
The haunted property in question turns out to be an abandoned hotel. It is one of the spookiest places in the entire game. There is a haunting voice trying to guide us, objects flying off trying to hit us (and they hurt!), some times we can see the vision of a woman to only disappear soon, doors opening on their own and so on.
Throughout the place there are also clues to what happened in the form of newspapers, a child's drawing and a diary. If you are curious, the gist of it is: a man went insane (perhaps even possessed by some evil entity?) with jealousy because he thought a necklace that she bought was the result of an affair. Because of that he end up brutally murdering their two children and his wife. He might have set the fire to the hotel too in some kind of crazy attempt of suicide.
As we progress through the hotel the attacks get increasingly more dangerous: at one point the bad ghost even tries to drop an elevator on us. At the last part the hotel is engulfed into some ghostly fire that hurts just like real fire.
Eventually we end up finding a necklace in one of the rooms of the hotel. Picking it up seems to end up the haunting for now.
Back at the Asylum the one we meet in the office is not Therese but Jeanette. She asks us to give the necklace to her promising to deliver it to her sister. I politely decline it. She insists, getting even to the point of playing the "poor me" card. I keep declining, as politely as I can.
Eventually Jeanette gives up and asks us to do a favor for her. There is supposedly some vampire in town using a charity event in a gallery nearby to establish their own clique. Jeanette want us to ruin the event by destroying the paintings there. Oh, and to get the money from the charity box while we are it.
Despite my best judgement I accept the request.
The entrance to the gallery is being guarded by a cop that... well, he is clearly not the best around. Again there are different ways to get inside the place. One of them is talking to the cop. Since I have Dominate I could just use it to make him to open the door for me but I decide it is more amusing to persuade him that I am an assistant director that came here to take away some of the paintings. He falls for my lies, opening the front door for us.
Inside the gallery the first thing I do is steal from the charity box. This makes me lose one point of humanity but at least I get some extra cash. Then it is time to take care of the paintings. There are only four here, each depicting a different part of Cain's life, you know the one from the Bible. Except these paintings depict Cain from this game's mythology.
What we have to do here is slash these paintings with a knife. If we just do it willy-nilly paintings will just restore themselves. The only way to truly destroy them is by cutting them in the right order of events: Cain murdering Abel then being cursed by God, meeting Lilith and eventually abandoning her.
If we do it in the right order then some vampire-magic thing will happen and a guardian made out of blood will form to attack us. Fortunately it isn't a particularly hard fight.
Once again we go back to Asylum to report our success except this time it is Therese who is waiting us and she is furious. Turns out it was her charity event we just ruined.
Since we were nice to Therese she is willing to believe in our innocence as well as take away the necklace from the haunted hotel. She has one more task for us though: Therese and Jeanette had another argument and Jeanette ran away. Therese wants to us to go get her sister back and she knows exactly where her sister would have gone to, a local dinner not far from here.
We still need Therese to call off the feud with Tung there isn't much of an option but to accept yet another task.
On the dinner there is a small group of suspicious looking men in one corner of it and absolutely no Jeanette in sight. If we walk a bit inside the place though those suspicious men start to shoot at us.
At this point of the game this can be a hard fight. Even though they are just mortals there are enough of them with enough weapons to do a lot of damage. One of them even has a shotgun which hurts a lot.
Once we are done killing these guys the phone inside the diner starts to ring. It is Therese claiming that this was all Jeanette's doing since we refused to take part in her plans. The call is cut short by a frighted Jeanette screaming for help.
To make this situation even worse someone called the police because of this fight. They are just outside the diner shouting for us to surrender and come out.
Now I may be misremembering this but back in the days the police didn't show up here. I wonder if the Community Patch changed it at some point.
In any case, I get out of the diner and quickly dash to the nearest sewer entrance. Thanks to my terrible sense of direction I stay in there long enough for the cops to give up searching for me.
Going back once again to Asylum we find out Therese with a gun... Except something is off. The left part of her hair is tied into a ponytail like Jeanette uses and the make up from that side also looks like someone tried to hastily copy Jeanette's style.
When the conversation starts it becomes very clear what is happening: Therese and Jeanette are two different personalities of the same person. Or something like that. It is hard to explain.
Anyway, Therese decided we aren't useful anymore and she plans to kill us and Jeanette. The latter though promises to help us with Tung as long we save her.
As the conversation goes we see Therese blaming Tung for turning Jeanette against her while Jeanette claims she was the one manipulating Tung. The argument keeps progressing into more and more nasty territory.
During this argument between the sisters, Jeanette even tells their dark secret: according to her, when they were children, their father would come at night to sexually abuse Therese. One night Jeanette accidentally slept on Therese's bed so their father abused her instead. Therese got jealous, got the family's hunting rifle, and shot her father in the head. Therese tries to deny everything, getting more and more angry.
To get back at Jeanette, Therese accuses her of being a completely failure, that if it wasn't for Therese they would have been separated and Jeanette would never have become a vampire either.
Throughout all this I try to calm them down eventually convincing them to work together. At first they are reluctant but they agree realizing how much powerful they could be.
They give us the gun and Therese promises to call off the feud with Tung.
Some side notes about this: Therese and Jeanette being different personalities of the same person is one of the best misdirections of this game. Not only because of the amazing performance of the voice actress but because there are certain items in the office to make us think they are different people. The most obvious example is a giant painting of an old man with two little twin girls.
They also have different computers that can hacked where we can read their e-mails. Curiously enough there is just one double bed in the office which makes me wonder if Therese has another place where she sleeps.
It is entirely possible though that at one point they were different people but one of them died and the other recreated her sister as a different personality either before or after they became a vampire.
Another possibility is they were just one person, who never had a Multiple Personality Disorder at all and that only happened when they were turned into a creature of the night. They are Malkavian after all and mental affliction is their clan weakness.
And in case anyone is wondering, yes, it is possible to have Therese or Jeanette killed during this scene. If you weren't nice to one or both of them then the one you were the meanest to dies. Also, the options to get them to work together only appear if you have a high enough persuasion.
These are all things a first time player are unlikely to be prepared for. I don't even remember what the result I got the first time I played this game all I remember is that I was pretty surprised to find out Therese and Jeanette shared the same body.
Next time we'll be doing some side-questing before meeting Tung. 🙂