Penny Arcade Adventures – Precipice of Darkness Episode One: Peril on Hobo Alley

By Jeriaska . June 2, 2008 . 11:42pm


In search of the towering robot that smashed your home in the introductory chapter of Penny Arcade Adventure: On the Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness, your character has joined Gabe and Tycho, proprietors of the Startling Developments Detective Agency. To gather clues leading to the whereabouts of the rampaging automaton, you head down to the headquarters of Tycho's niece. Anne-Claire is a bibliophilic school student in a Victorian dress who specializes in engineering. Tycho describes her as a ray of hope in an otherwise wasted and feral generation, as she spends much of her free time dutifully studying the sciences and tinkering with elaborate machines.


Tycho's niece owns a device that measures seismic activity and has a poster on the wall of the world famous roboticist Dr. Lars Krangle. She takes an interest in the giant robot case that is the latest project of Startling Developments, and tells you to bring her samples of the remnants of the fruit fuckers once dispatched with. She suggests checking out Hobo Alley, an area of New Arcadia that is seismically off the graphs. The "smelly haven for hobos and mischief" is opened up on the map screen and Anne-Claire becomes a support character you can call on in battles.



The latest scourge to befall Hobo Alley is an infestation of rabid garbage cans with gnashing teeth, reports trash collector James Filth. Your party can help out the hapless garbage man by hunting down the black barrels with gaping jaws found here and there on the wrong side of the tracks. This initiates the case titled "Rise of the Refuse," in which your party seeks out the anthropomorphic trash located visibly on the Hobo Alley overhead map.


Encountering the enemies will initiate a battle. The trash cans will spew garbage from their mouths and roll along the ground at you, requiring you to study their attack patterns and learn when to hit the space bar to block. At this point in the game, you might be falling back on using gauze and bandages to heal your allies. Luckily, if just one of your characters survives battle, all of them are healed upon completion of the fight. There are also no phoenix downs, meaning a bandage heals even characters who are knocked out.


Fists and gardening equipment will prove largely useless against the binned menace. An effective strategy against the garbage is to have Tycho plug away with his tommy gun, then have your remaining allies team up for a combo attack. You can also pick up some spare parts by taking out the robots that occasionally show up in ballte. Items are plentiful, so there is no need to be conservative with your attack boosters. Hot toddies that you can find scattered in garbage bins around town are especially effective, normally taking off 80 HP. Don't forget that you can call on Anne-Claire as a support character, as she will show up with a flamethrower that sets the garbage ablaze.


pa4.jpgOnce the trash is wasted, as it were, you can head back to Filth, the trash collector. He will offer you a dirty plastic token for your pains, which can be used as currency on the Pelican Bay boardwalk. With the parts you have retrieved from the busted robots, Anne-Claire will make a pair of brass knuckles for Gabe, or your character can receive a… slightly better rake.


Heading back to Hobo Alley, you can seek out the would-be academic, Ernald Whimple the Urinologist. Whimple has a makeshift laboratory set up in a gated park, but the hoboidal menace found in the area has blocked off the entranceway to his lab, refusing to budge. Demanding your shoes from you, the enemies will assault you with 2×4 blocks of wood, dealing out "plank you very much" attacks. You can employ the same tactics against the human enemies, as the foes are impervious to Gabe's fists and weak against Tycho's gun. You can wrestle from them a big winding key, a giant robot clue that seems to provide evidence that the iron giant you are tracking down is quaintly spring-driven. It may be that whoever is responsible for the titan's rampage is looking for an improved power source.


Clearing the enemies out from Dr. Whimple's lab, the professor will offer you a Monkey Card, an odd little punch card with an ape face emblazoned on it. You also get a ticket to enter Pelican Bay, another area Anne-Claire reports is exhibiting seismic activity. On your way out, you will notice a blonde slumlord racing to the area hotel, toting a canvas sack that appears to be hiding a screaming abductee. Helping yourself to a look inside one of the locked doors, your party discovers a roomful of workers making robots on an assembly line. Gabe determines it is time to "make some friends."


Images courtesy of Hothead Games.


[Revised on June 3, 2008] 

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  • Chuck

    Any gameplay impressions?

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