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(09-23-2013, 04:18 AM)TexDangerfield Wrote: [ -> ]
(09-22-2013, 11:33 PM)Alex Ros Wrote: [ -> ]I have always thought that Shadow attacks people who are trying to obtain the Orb, that the Guardian punishes the very desire to have this cosmic thing for myself alone. That's what happened with Daniel when he took the Orb away.

As long as there's a hidden underground temple in a Machine for Pigs I presume Mandus wasn't hunted by the Shadow simply because he haven't took the Orb, he was influenced by its powers and has built entire machine around the temple, but the Orb itself was always untouched down there at the mysterious London temple.

Another possibility and preferable one is that Mandus did take the Orb with him away from Mexico. But instead of trying to hide from the Shadow he has built a twin temple just underground the London and let Shadow guard it downthere. Somehow the Shadow became satisfied but began to heavily influence poor Mandus whose mental state was heavily shaken by the death of the beloved wife, who died at the birth of the twins. He, Mandus, began to think that the world itself and a human civilization is a monster. And killed his children to save them from the horrors of the world. At the same time he did not just killed them, he sacrificed them and used their hearts to obtain the Orb powers in order to build his Machine. And that Machine was able to merge pigs and humans only because of the Orb powers, because of the special vitae version. And the whole purpose of the Machine is creating of the "army" of monsters capable of destroying whole mankind, unworthy of this planet.

Well, anyway, all those words above are just presumptions, nothing more.

The only thing that I am sure about (for myself of course) is that the temple under the London wasn't there, nope, it has been built by the Mandus. The twin of the mexican temple. That's something I am sure about. But that what I feel, I do not insist I am right and I do not have any exact arguments that I am right.

I'm under the impression The Shadow just sort of does what it wants. It felt more beneficial for it to simply influence Mandus, I have the feeling that truly it would never have really hunted and killed Daniel until after his contact with Alexander and all the evil they had done. After all Daniel was manipulated as well into doing evil things.

The Amnesia wiki's interpretation of the Shadow is that it actually held back on Daniel because it wanted him to kill Alexander for it. That's why it blocks out any chance of escape from the castle, and why Daniel is suddenly free to escape if he murdered Alex.

Again, I'm inclined to think that the Stone Egg operates in a different manner from the Orbs.
*huge exasperated sigh*

I just beat the game for a second time, and although I took things slower and more carefully this round, I know I still didn't find ALL the notes... Also I'm even more confused now than ever. >_o

I do agree that a collection of all the notes and passages on a timeline would be most helpful... My biggest concern is how exactly there are diary entries written by the twins when they are almost certainly dead. Augh. If it wasn't for the diary entries I would be more eager in accepting the children having been replaced with manpigs. It would be one thing for Mandus to see them as his sons when in such a delusional state, but I cannot see the creatures themselves writing, especially with such concern to their "father" and mentioning holidays like Christmas. There is also the clockwork spine. Did Mandus puke that up? What was it exactly and why was it in the sink plug? Would a spine (even a small one) FIT inside a sink plug? Maybe I wasn't even supposed to take it literally, but he apparently had set it on the mantelpiece next to the "egg".

Blahhhhh... anyways, I'll list a few things I did find on my second playthrough...

-The clock in the room with the piano. It appears to be broken. The hand will reach the 12 then swivel back a bit, then repeat the process. After you approach the piano and you hear the Machine attempt to run, the clock chimes. However, I did not count the strokes. If it was for midnight, that would indeed be very odd...

-At least 3 models of an Aztec pyramid, all of which look the same. I wold assume it is a model of the temple visited in Mexico.

-2 busts of a man wearing a jaguar head hood. Another Aztec reference, I'm sure...

- An odd tombstone in the graveyard that looks more like a small alter. It has a single lit candle and has what appears to be alchecmic symbolds carved onto it.

- A wretch dry humping a guy in a suit behind some boxes... (seen during the LONDON'S BURNING streets scene)

-A painting in an office (the one with the teeth in the drawer I believe) which shows a somewhat crazed woman with a bundled piglet on her lap. It seems she had just suckled it, and, in the right side of the picture, you can see a boiling pot with a child's leg sticking out.

- You CAN get a monster encounter in the holding pens (the one traversed during the chemicals puzzle). After sending the component through the transport, backtrack instead of using the catwalk. Smile
(09-23-2013, 04:26 AM)Lazoriss Wrote: [ -> ]*huge exasperated sigh*
After you approach the piano and you hear the Machine attempt to run, the clock chimes. However, I did not count the strokes. If it was for midnight, that would indeed be very odd...

I thought that was a church bell, or Big Ben, from outside the manor...
Just went through the mansion part again. I suppose it might be best to comb through this game in parts rather than try for it all at once, so as to avoid becoming impatient. :B

There are several more clocks. I found 3 grandfather clocks in total and two of the smaller clocks. All the small clocks are stuck at 12 and the grandfather clocks have the same repetitive swinging animation. I am pretty certain now that the grandfather clock in the piano room is the one that chimes. The volume of said chimes rely on your proximity to the clock, you see. I also counted the chiming this time and it is ten o'clock... This would make more sense as it would take approximately 2 hours to reach the end of the game from this point.

Found some more interesting tidbits in the mansion which I'll put under a spoiler cut (as to avoid clogging the forum with unnecessarily long posts).

Spoiler below!

- You hear a man screaming during the dream sequence at the start of the game, right after the machine turns on. I recall hearing the same screams in two other occasions during play. It sounds kind of like someone yelling "go away!".

-After awakening the first time (before falling back into unconsciousness) you can hear your children playing with a ball in the attic and see your door being closed by someone...

- The small nook bedroom close to your office is a bit odd considering the grungy bed. The door also blows open when you get close. I can't guess as to who the room belongs to)

- The nursery contains 2 cradles. the children are much too old for cradles, but I'd guess them being a hallucination. The cradles appear again later in the game as well. The nursery also has one normal sized bed (with no cage) and the door will slam shut behind you (made me jump haha)

- In the bathroom with the secret passageway, next to the sink, there is a glass of water containing a row of teeth.

(09-15-2013, 08:08 AM)randeh Wrote: [ -> ]Much like my first time playing Dear Esther I spent the first night after beating it laying in bed trying to piece it all together. By the time I got around to playing it again to confirm my theories, I could kiss Dan Pinchbeck - I miss that era of games like Silent Hill 2 that left me wondering and thinking for days. Bravo, Chinese Room.

This thread has been fun, but there's a three big things people still seem pretty puzzled about so I'd like to share the conclusions I reached:

When are the twins killed?
Spoiler below!
So did Mandus go insane upon seeing the vision caused by the Orb and sacrifice his children in the ruins in Mexico back in February 1899? Or were they killed in December 1899 to bring life to The Machine? There's good evidence in the game for both...

The answer is yes. To both. The truth is that the twins were killed multiple times...

The February journal entries indicate that Mandus takes the twins with him the ruins in Mexico. In Mexico we know there was an "appalling tragedy" as referenced in Father Jeremiah's Journal. The Professor also mentions this in a phonograph early on claiming "a lesser man would have crumbled" with what Mandus has been through.

Furthermore, when Mandus arrives back home in March 1899 he buried "tiny shattered skulls under the weeping bulges of the rhododendrons" - this refers to the twins.

Why just the heads? Again in March 1899, Mandus mentions "headless ribcages" with flowers planted in them to "hold the sky from falling", which is what the inhabitants of the Mexican ruins were attempting. So the rest of their bodies were left behind in Mexico. This is also an important detail for proving the twins die multiple times...

As further evidence that the twins originally died in Mexico, the Machine tells Mandus that he killed his children "on the steps of the temple". There are some in this thread who have interpreted this as being the temple at the end of the game down in the heart of The Machine, however The Machine also mentions that Mandus killed the twins alone before either of them killed anyone else. They were the first to die. This means the twins died before Mandus had ManPigs to assemble the vast underground network that lead to the underground temple.

Finally, in The Engine VO called vo_engine_intro_flashback, Mandus states that "cradling a stone egg in my jacket, I kissed my children farewell, and I crawled my way home."

So this all indicates that yes, the twins died in Mexico. But there are two big problems with leaving it at that - the twins' journal entries marked October 1899 (six months after they died in Mexico), and their intact bodies hooked up to the core of The Machine at the end of the game.

So how do we get reanimated twins from simply severed heads? You will recall the August 1899 journal entry details an experiment successfully resurrecting a man's severed head. This same journal entry is also the one where he mentions saving his children... Hmm.

Upon bringing them back, there are a few things indicating that these twins were something less than human... notably their journal entries detail their adventures around the house at a time when the house would be in full swing of murderous orgies and staffed entirely with ManPigs.

How could he be so cruel to his resurrected children? Mandus seems to be describing them in the Cellar VO named vo_cellar_trigger_mandus_02: "Bandaged feet and eyes, small bones in the orchard, I have carried this world on my back with its legs about me. Damn this wretched soul, I am given birth to nothing but machinery." This hearkens back the Clockwork and the Soul Journal entry that details an attempt at bringing someone to life that ends with the line "Damn, damn it. Damn this wretched soul. If only it were clockwork."

This is mentioned again in the December 1st journal entry where the boys' clockwork souls are referenced, as well as their spines. The boys' spines are mentioned again in the next day's journal entry in December 2nd where Mandus finds "a toy spine, clockwork intricate, like a child's spine, but clockwork. How could that be? How could a child's spine be made like clockwork? I washed it carefully and placed it on the mantelpiece, by the egg I laid myself, under the garden where the childrens' skulls are buried. I call it my Mexico."

So these new boys are more machine and monster than Mandus wanted. The December 2nd journal entry is also a good indicator on their exact time of death and the birth of the repentant Mandus... "Walking away from those temples, that small pile of stones under the rhododendrons. The skulls of innocence under the loose clod. Headless ribcages in the cool stone behind the altars, three thousand miles apart." The last line in particular seems to indicate that the boys were murdered again, in a temple, much like last time, with their rib cages sporting the "flowers" that will hold up the sky. When you see the corpses of the boys, behind the altar within the second temple at the end of the game you see their ribcages pierced by the machine.

Thus, it is extremely likely that Mandus kills the resurrected twins to give sentience to The Machine on or before December 1st. This is why "there won't be any Christmas" for the twins as they describe in October. The shock of this ritual also causes him to spiral downwards into grief and doubt, eventually causing him to split in two... but more on that below.

Who is the man in the iron lung?
Spoiler below!
The answer is in the name of that chapter - Enoch, Edwin, Oswald, and I. The man in the machine is Oswald Mandus' Orb-tainted darker half.

That isn't to say he's simply a split personality. He is a very seperate entity. This man speaks directly to Mandus, but not within Mandus. Early on the March 15th Journal entry he writes that he "can only hear the voice from within that gentlest of stones. It sings to me and I dream of a great machine" ... The gentlest of stones being the Orb. Again while speaking to the Professor when asked if his engineer agrees with Mandus' philosophy, Mandus responds: "Indeed he does. Indeed he does. The poor fellow has seen it all before. Now, this is not the first great civilization he has wept for." This indicates that there was some consciousness within the Orb that simply melded parasitically to Mandus for its own goals. The cut second ending and the references to hatching iron eggs also indicate that this entity was using The Machine to free itself and "hatch", to live beyond its nest within Mandus.

When this entity leaves the Orb and joins The Machine by hooking directly into it via the body in the iron lung, it can only communicate with Mandus via machinery - hence the phones and speakers.

Furthermore in a phone call in the Alley (vo_alley_tele_machine_01) he claims that he "has such visions to share with thee, if my jaw be unshackled and you harvest the crust from my eyes". This seems to accurately depict his current state within the iron lung with the wires coming from his mouth and eyes into the machine.

There are some in the thread who believe this man is the Professor, but there is simply no evidence for that at all aside from some people thinking the voices sound similar. But in fact, when entering the Sewers you hear Mandus speaking to the same voice you hear over the phone and speakers about utilizing the methane to power pumps, well before The Machine is finished, which is certainly before the Professor ever arrives. This proves that the voice couldn't be the Professor, and that likely the Professor was killed and turned into a pig, just like all the others.

There is a reason this man is immersed in Compound X, but that is better answered within the big question...

... who the hell am I playing?
Spoiler below!
This is something I am 100% confident Dan Pinchbeck went out of his way to leave open for interpretation, though there are some pretty strong hints at to what is most likely.

Most people understand that something happened that split Oswald Mandus into two entities - hence the differentiation between Oswald and I in the title of the last chapter. There are numerous journal entries in both My Journal and Found Documents that tell the story well enough, notably the last (chronologically) document on December 29th 1899:

"Can a man construct himself anew? Can a man, on realising who he is, on what he has become, tear himself apart down to the bricks and begin again? Are our souls just this, tiny cogwheels and clockwork, and intricate machines to serve a function that, upon reflection, we might set to a new task?"

How he accomplishes this is somewhat mysterious. Some think he simply shocked himself due to the line: "As I reach my hands to the exposed wires I ask myself this - is redemption possible for such a creature as I?" But if this is the case, how did he continue writing the next sentence? Was he writing in a journal with one hand and reaching his hand out with the other? Seems to me this is speaking more to the sabotage of The Machine than the method of his split.

Others think it is the jungle fever simply causing him to lose his mind, but he has been sick with that disease for almost EIGHT MONTHS by the time we get to December when the game begins. It's unlikely to have flared to that degree, yet kept him completely mobile just prior to the beginning of the game enough to sabotage The Machine, and keep him completely mobile and alert for entire rest of the game.

His sickness seems to be more involved. He refers to it as a "plague" and something he suffered from for a long time after returning. In one instance in the August 20th document he speaks of the ManPigs: "I have children once again, and your froms imperfect will be the engines to make my own blood flow again."

Further on June 3rd he writes: "I realise now that my fear of dirt stems from the disease I contracted climbing those lost jungle temples. It is as if those clean places, so free of humanity's filth, imprinted upon my soul and left it fragile to what I find here. Fear is what keeps us all in our places, and the fear of the flesh, the ruin of the flesh is the greatest of them all. I am sickened, I am ruined, but I will build such machines to contain this plague and heal us all."

It sounds as though Mandus was dying, likely due to the parasitic nature of the entity from the Orb. This is likely the cause of his body's immersion in Compound X in the heart of The Machine (the man in the iron lung). This is to preserve his body and keep him alive long enough to destroy the world.

My conclusion is that Mandus had enough control of The Machine to split part of his consciousness off into another body - namely that of a ManPig (though a potentially advanced model, similar to how meticulously recrafted the boys were). The reason for this split is likely his body's full integration into The Machine. The removal of his heart to power the machines (which we later find).

This is hinted at when you ride the pigline at the end of the game that leads directly to the temple - you see Enoch and Edwin standing with a ManPig directly behind them, arms held out like a proud father holding his sons. This is also why you wake up in a caged bed where the ManPigs slept. This is why people run from you and slam their doors when London is burning as if they do not recognize you as the rich industrialist philanthropist who treats them all so well.

The Machine, the man in the iron lung, is Oswald Mandus' body. But you... you are Oswald Mandus' clockwork soul remade into a new body to carry out his last wishes. This is why it refers to you as Mandus, and why Mandus via the Chapter title refers to it as Oswald (leaving himself described as "I" to remain vague). In all actuality, Oswald Mandus's original personality, his original soul, was completely dead and replaced by the entity who had assumed full control of his body by the time we play the game.

You are a duplicate. A reconstruction of what Oswald Mandus was before Mexico - a caring father whose only concern is in protecting his sons. This is why you have no memories of anything The Machine tells you - you never did those things. You don't have amnesia... you were born on December 29th.

Just came here to post my thoughts on the plot of this incredible game but after reading through the entire thread (took a while) I realized that this Randeh guy has in my mind nailed it! I was having the same thoughts but never sussed out that Mandus killed his children in Mexico and re-animated them back in London.

I think that if the player character is not simply a Manpig imbued with Ozwald's "soul". Then he is simply a more sophisticated reanimated corpse linked to the machine. I totally buy that if Ozwald could re-animate mutilated and reassembled pig corpses then unmutilated orphan bodies (in the case of his children) and a human adult (in the case of himself) would be a technically easier task. The pigs were just chosen for their docility and strength as workers, and also perhaps as a social comment.

I think it would be cooler for the player character to be a Manpig though... did anyone check to see how exactly the pigs were manipulating the building blocks, would seem rather hard with a trotter. If they have a human left arm then for me that is case closed!

Re-reading the diaries etc with this in mind cleared the last bits of confusion from my head. I'm surprised his conclusions have been brushed aside so easily by the more frequent posters here. These posts are so well reasoned! Also I think the guy who was talking about the temple at the end being in another dimension may be on to something too.
|C I must have missed these posts. Darn it!

I guess... it would be possible for the children to be reanimated somehow. Chronologically, it's the only thing that would make sense. I missed the note about a person being reanimated by just a skull. It still seems such a stretch to have such perfect replicas, even with the implied lacking of a soul. Not to mention, based on the diary entries, the children seem to act as any child would, certainly not what you would expect from a "soulless" individual. They worry a lot about their dad and try to aid an injured bird (then give it a proper burial once it has died).

Ok. Rereading the posts, it makes more sense now. I would assume perhaps the Orb was also used in reanimating the children, giving them their "soul". This would also go well with the children being one soul in two bodies, along with the 2 hearts at the end having that unearthly glow that is shared by an Orb...

So... Mandus did hook up the Orb to the machine to give it sentience, sacrificing his children in the process.
(09-15-2013, 08:08 AM)randeh Wrote: [ -> ]When are the twins killed?

I agree with what you wrote here. I came to virtually the same conclusion ten hours into the game (it took me just over twelve hours to complete).
Spoiler below!
Killed in Mexico, re-animated as half-machines, ultimately hooked up to the machine (as seen in the final scene), on either side of the chair in which Mandus sacrifices himself.

Quote:Who is the man in the iron lung?

Agree with this; I had reached almost the same conclusion seven hours in, only reversed.
Spoiler below!
I ultimately decided the body in the Machine was Oswald's, and that we control another part of him, but I was never certain about what body that part of him inhabited.

Spoiler below!
The answer is in the name of that chapter - Enoch, Edwin, Oswald, and I.

I agree this was a critical title, and confirmed a lot of what I had concluded once I read it.

Quote:... who the hell am I playing?

I agree your explanation has a lot going for it.
Spoiler below!
I was divided between concluding the heart powering the machine was his wife's, or his; if it's his then what does the Machine pull out of him in the final scene, and how does that terminate the Mandus who is in the sarcophagus?

I decided they are two fragments of the one soul, and if one dies the other dies. The Mandus we control is certainly the original 'good' side of Mandus, and he sabotaged the Machine. But why has he no memory of having sabotaged it?
Quote: I decided they are two fragments of the one soul, and if one dies the other dies
In the end, as you activate the Harmonicas (if I remember the name well), the Machine yells "Kill him!"
Why would it want to kill Mandus, if this was gonna kill itself as well?
(09-23-2013, 11:20 AM)rotten Wrote: [ -> ]In the end, as you activate the Harmonicas (if I remember the name well), the Machine yells "Kill him!"
Why would it want to kill Mandus, if this was gonna kill itself as well?

Spoiler below!
Either it's a plot hole (very likely, the plot isn't completely watertight), or it's all about the way Mandus dies; perhaps the sacrificial killing of himself in the temple is what ensures 'all of him' dies, including the double in the Machine.
Also, how did he revive his children, if all he had was shattered skulls buried in the garden, while their hearts were eaten and their ribcages are in Mexico? He did bring back to life a head without a corpse but it was right after the accident that killed that man. Aaaand the resurrected corpses still suffer from the reason of their death.
So it is impossible for him to bring his children back with help of Compound X. He could only bring their souls back with the help from the Orb and put them inside other bodies, presumably mechanic, but this is not referenced in the game.