I've gotten the hang of 2400 A.D., and it isn't too hard, particularly given that (as far as I can tell) you cannot die. If robots shoot you enough, you fall unconscious and you wake up in the Social Rehab Center. As some of my readers pointed out in my last posting, this isn't so bad. If you search around, you find a secret door that lets you escape into the underground, at which point you can find your way to the surface.
Now, you don't have any of your equipment, but a helpful hint from a guy named Guido...
...clued me in to where I could go and find it. There's no security on it or anything:
So "dying" and going to rehab actually becomes useful at some points. It certainly isn't any detriment that I can see--you don't lose any statistics, and you even have your check-in timer reset--so the only drawback is that it's a slight pain in the neck wandering out of jail.
This is a good thing, because I was shot unconscious about 20 times tonight as I explored the city of Metropolis. First of all, the quest advanced as I returned to Spider with the password, was given some equipment (including a better blaster), and advised to find out about the underground.
On my way to the underground, I was pursued by another Follower. I got sick of him shadowing me, and I shot him dead. This turned out to be an extraordinary bit of luck because I haven't been able to kill another Follower since.
When a robot "dies," nothing in the game tells you it's dead; it just stops moving. I didn't realize this the first time, so I kept shooting and shooting it until my weapon broke. Then I realized he wasn't shooting back, and I searched him for a cool 8 credits.
As you fight, run, climb, talk to people, and repair weapons in this game, your energy (strength), agility, IQ, and affinity increase. This is the first game I can think of in which your ability scores increase through use instead of through magical means or allocating experience points to them.
In the Underground.
In the Underground (literally an area beneath the city you access via ladders), I was recruited into the Rebellion by someone named "Pinkie" and given a list of individuals to consult. As I did in Ultima IV, I've been taking careful notes of character locations and clues. The game is similar to Ultima IV in that you speak to characters by typing keywords, and often you get a clue from one character to mention something in particular to another. It is dissimilar to Ultima IV in that the characters don't have as much to say, and they don't respond to standard keywords like NAME, JOB, and HEALTH.
The clues are telling me a little about a secret entrance to the Authority Complex, and code words I'll need to shut down the robot servers--the game's main quest.
As I explore and talk to people, I've also been finding out about different modes of transportation in the City of Metropolis. First, you can walk anywhere, obviously. But there's also a conveyor belt that reaches most of the parts of the town, and a subway that runs underneath it. Finally, there are occasional transporters that you need a code word to use, but I just got it: LETSGO.
My main goal now is to make some money and upgrade my weapons, armor, and equipment, and the only way I've found to make money is by killing robots. After numerous attempts and subsequent sojourns in the Rehab Center, I thought to consult the book, and I realized there are different "levels" of robots. Right now, I can basically only take on Level 1:
If I limit myself to "police" robots and "sentry" robots, I've actually been doing pretty well. Here's a shot of me looting the bodies of two police robots:
I'm up to about 500 credits, but good weapons and armor cost in the thousands, so I have a long way to go. My plan right now is to keep exploring, talking, and killing, and see where it gets me. Somehow the game doesn't feel like it's going to take very long, but perhaps I'm deceiving myself.