The good news is: if you've read William Gibson's short story
"Johnny Mnemonic" it won't help you to play Sony Imagesoft's game of
the same name. The game is substantially different from the story --
even some of the major characters are different. Similarly, although
the game bears more resemblance to the recent JOHNNY MNEMONIC movie
release than to the original short story, most portions of the movie
script never appear in the game and vice versa. So you needn't feel
that having "seen the movie" or "read the book" will completely spoil
your enjoyment of the game.
The bad news is: the good news. Double for those who have neither
seen the movie nor read the book. The game plops you down in the
middle of an ongoing story, and you have to absorb gradually the
significance of all that you encounter. Since this is an interactive
movie, just about everything you interact with -- people, items,
places -- you'll perceive only through sight and sound. The game has
no subtitle option, so, for example, unless you listen carefully as a
character describes him or herself or another character, you will have
no idea what the names of the characters are. The same is true for
items, which the game does not identify for you. You're expected to be
able to tell what the item is just by looking at it. This can be a
problem since some of the items are far from the familiar household
variety, and it's worse if your computer system isn't generating
perfect video quality. I found that I was simply unable to tell what
some of the items Johnny picked up were from their visual
The game's fundamental conflict, as you find out from reading the
box and some of the material in the booklet that comes in the CD case
(and which becomes more apparent during the first few scenes) is your
basic race against time. Johnny is a courier in a near-future society,
carrying data in an implant in his head. Unfortunately for Johnny,
it's far more data than his implant's designed to carry, and in about
12 hours it will wreak havoc on his nervous system and kill him --
unless he's able to download it from his skull. The problem is, he
needs a code to download the material, and he doesn't have it. The
main object of the game is to find the code and then download the
information. But of course, this information is valuable, and some
prime goons from the organized crime conglomerate Yakuza are literally
after Johnny's head. They aren't above killing him before the data
GENERAL NOTES FOR THE ADVENTURER
This game differs from some traditional adventure games in two
significant respects. First, you cannot necessarily save your game in
the place you think you're saving. There are certain "key" places in
the game described in the booklet (including Johnny's apartment,
Spider's lab, Ralfi's office, etc.) and if you save before you get to
the next of these, you'll start in the last one you left. Also, your
saves won't necessarily resume exactly where you left off even if you
do save in a "key" place.
Second, the game has no conscious inventory control. Johnny will
pick up items if you USE where he can pick something up, but you won't
be able to select the item from inventory to examine it or USE it.
Instead, if he's carrying an item that can be used in a particular
place, he will do so automatically if you USE in that location.
A fair amount of combat occurs in the game, but it is relatively
simple and not very challenging once you get the hang of it. I died
quite a bit at the beginning before I found that feet were a great
all-purpose weapon. KICK became my primary weapon in each fight,
except one. For the first couple of enemies, I didn't use any other
combat function -- I just KICKED each time I got the "letter" screen
(the screen with black top and bottom edges) and that took care of
that. Later in the game, you have to deal with a couple of tougher
fighters. I had to adjust my timing a bit, but I found that KICKING
liberally and using the other options sparingly worked on one of these
guys, and for the other I just used PUNCH the same way I'd used KICK
throughout the rest of the game.
In general, you'll want to LOOK, MOVE and USE in every possible
direction to make sure you don't miss anything. Sometimes MOVE and USE
will have the same result; other times you'll miss something if you
don't USE instead of MOVE. Be sure to try USE more than once in each
location as sometimes that will find you more items. In some cases,
when you USE determines whether you'll find a new item or not. I
couldn't really find a pattern to it, so if you need to USE to find
more than one item, I've noted the items I found instead of the
specific number of times you should USE in case you don't hit the
timing just right.
At many points during the game, you won't have any option to do
anything. You'll be watching the "movie" part of the interactive
movie. But don't go running off for popcorn because you'll soon be
back in the "interactive" part and if you don't act, Johnny frequently
will. I've used the term "movie mode" to describe what happens during
these sequences in this walkthru.
Because the game is non-linear, different ways of approaching a
particular problem exist. What follows is the way I approached the
game and what happened as I played. Your mileage may vary, but I've
included information on those of the possible alternatives I
discovered. I have noted these where applicable.
STARTING OUT: Johnny's Apartment
JOHNNY MNEMONIC begins in Johnny's BEDROOM, where he awakes and
snaps rather uncharitably at his female body guard for letting him
sleep. After this, you're presented with your first interactive
sequence. My game began with the short walkthru of the first scene
that is included in the game booklet at page 10. This seemed as good a
place as any to start since it felt like I hadn't played a completely
keyboard-controlled game since I retired my 286, and I knew it was
going to take me awhile to become fully comfortable with the
After Johnny's finished squawking at the bodyguard, he's facing a
FISH TANK that's poised on one of his BEDSIDE TABLES. As the booklet
instructed, I MOVED toward the TABLE, and Johnny sat down, picked up
some GOGGLES, and flashed back to the experience of having the data
uploaded into his brain. When this was over, he was facing the
bodyguard. Again, as the booklet says, I MOVED toward her, and saw
another segment of flashback to the uploading and the destruction of
the disk containing the information uploaded into Johnny's head. Then
Johnny was facing the FISH TANK again. Johnny and I were also now on
our own because the booklet's walkthru ended here.
I next experimented with LOOK and MOVE. I LOOKED right and saw
the BODYGUARD again. I LOOKED right again, and faced the BEDROOM
DOORWAY. If you don't do anything else here, after awhile Johnny will
take off on his own and walk out the bedroom door (bad Johnny! bad bad
bad!). I found this out when I ended up in the next room before I was
ready and discovered I was in a very difficult situation indeed.
You'll see that Johnny will travel on auto-pilot throughout the game
at various points, so it's important not to abdicate control unless
you really intend to.
After starting over and replaying to this point, I LOOKED right
again, and found that I was facing the second of the BEDSIDE TABLES,
but I couldn't MOVE toward it. This should, perhaps, have been an
immediate tip-off that I should have USED here, but I didn't since I
was still getting used to the MOVE and LOOK keys. (If you do USE here,
you'll find a card that says "Beijing Grand Hotel" on it and see yet
another flashback to the uploading in which Johnny learns that he's
now carrying in his head the only copy of the data that was on the
disk. USE again here, and you'll find some items that are described
later in my game.)
Instead of USING, though, I geared up for that difficult
situation I hadn't felt ready for, LOOKED left, and MOVED. Johnny
walked into the next room where several guards were present. Now we
entered movie mode, and Johnny spoke to Ralfi, his agent, over the
vid-phone. This segment drives home the point that Johnny has to
download or he'll die, but he doesn't have an access code. Ralfi
assures Johnny that he has a "geezer" standing by who will get the
info out of Johnny's head.
Still in movie mode, enter Jane who's there to "help." Jane
displays that she's quite unpredictably tough when, while being held
at gunpoint by one of Johnny's guards, she reverses the situation and
points a very nasty weapon at the guard's head. After this exhibition,
some truly unpleasant people arrive. This is one of the spots where
having seen the movie (or read the screenplay -- I did both) can help.
If you have, you'll recognize the leader as Shinji and (perhaps) his
side-kick as Henson, both of whom are Yakuza. You'll also realize what
it is that Shinji's doing, which I found terribly unclear from the
game. Shinji has a very unusual thumb, which doubles as a lethal
weapon. His thumb has a metal cap on the end, and inside is a
filament. He can extract the filament from the thumb and neatly slice
through the unlucky enemy quicker than you can say "yuppie
cheeseboard." And he's extracting it now with an eye toward Johnny.
Since I was pretty sure I had no weapons (not being able to check
inventory, I wasn't certain), I decided it was best to get out of
there as soon as possible.
As soon as movie mode stopped, I ran while I had the chance.
After a few false starts where I died uncermoniously, I discovered
that if I hit MOVE each time I got a letter screen (three times
total), we were out of there after a confusing scuffle in movie mode
which is peppered by machine gun fire.
ESCAPE FROM THE APARTMENT: In the Hallway
The goon who appears to be Henson (I say appears to be because
there's a Henson in the cast list in the CD booklet and in the
screenplay he's described as an American Yakuza) was waiting in the
HALLWAY after we escaped the apartment -- and he was in fighting mode.
I figured there wasn't much choice except for Johnny to put up his own
dukes. I don't care what the booklet says, the main timing challenge
with hand-to-hand combat in this game is not standing still. After
trying several combinations of fighting techniques unsuccessfully, I
just KICKED the guy immediately every time I got the letter screen
until he didn't get up anymore. Once I figured out this method, Johnny
didn't even get a scratch.
INTO THE DEPTHS: From Hallway to Subway
Now we were in movie mode, and after Jane gives Johnny an
understated compliment on his prowess in kicking down his adversary,
the two of them run outside and have a little heart to heart. Johnny
spills his guts to Jane about his predicament and reveals that he
calculates 12 hours before the overload burns his neurons to garbage.
During this exchange, Jane develops a bad case of the shakes. Hmmm...
what does this mean? Is she a junkie? The game doesn't tell you. Jane
does tell you that she needs to see someone called Spider, who Johnny
refers to as a "body hacker." Johnny would really rather not deal with
this problem given his own time constraints, but relents, throws Jane
over his shoulder, and heads into the subway. Once there, Jane's shoe
promptly decides to weld itself to the subway rail, which is very bad
However, an apparent subway dweller (who I suspect from the cast
list is the fellow called Squatter) appeared and offered Johnny a HOOK
once we left movie mode. This was a seemingly attractive alternative,
but each time I went for the HOOK and attempted to "get to the rail"
as this guy suggested, Jane and Johnny soared into oblivion at the
nose of a high speed train. Instead, if after taking the HOOK I LOOKED
left twice and then MOVED (the opposite direction from the one I'd
been facing when I met the hook guy), Johnny and Jane ended up in
front of a large fan and the train passed by without incident. The
hook guy then told me where to find Spider, and Jane and Johnny
proceeded to his lab in movie mode.
HUMP? WHAT HUMP?: In Spider's Lab
This Spider person doesn't come off as a particularly friendly
sort, but why should he be different from any of the other so-called
cyberpunks in the game? He does have a weak spot for Jane, who he has
apparently doctored in some way, shape, or form (or perhaps more ways
than one) in the past. He denies that his work is responsible for her
current condition and gives a terse lecture on how "clean" his work
is. If you've seen the movie, you know that Jane's "condition" is NAS
(Nerve Attenuation Syndrome), but this wasn't developed very
thoroughly in the game. After this, movie mode ends with Spider taking
Jane away to tend to her. Now Johnny and I were free to explore his
Initially, we were facing a TABLE with some RED BOXES on it. I
USED in this direction and found something in one of the BOXES that
appeared to be a kind of cable. Johnny examined it and then put it
back. After this, I LOOKED right and was facing another TABLE which
was farther away. I MOVED toward it and USED it. I found I could
examine three items there and take one of them if I USED several
times. One of the items was a CASE shaped like a head. It appears to
me from reading the screenplay that this is a cryogenic storage unit
of the sort that the Yakuza would like to take Johnny's head home in.
The second was a framed PICTURE of Jane. The second time Johnny picked
up this PICTURE, he took an item and placed it in his jacket pocket.
This item appeared to me on first examination to be a piece of cloth.
I now believe it to be a RUBBER GLOVE, for reasons explained later.
I then LOOKED right and found myself facing a TANK with body
parts floating in it and a red light flashing next to it. I USED it
and got a close up of the TANK, but no amount of USING would allow me
to do anything with the tank.
I LOOKED right again twice and faced a HUTCH with a bookcase and
two DRAWERS. USING the hutch several times allowed me to look in each
of the DRAWERS. Inside one I found an odd looking RED CASE that
appeared to be locked. Inside the other I found some READING MATERIAL
on NAS. Johnny examined but didn't take either one.
At this point, I turned around and walked back the way I'd come.
On the left hand side was a table with a BULLETIN BOARD over it. I
USED here and saw a close up view of a medical-type (body hacker?)
anatomy chart. I then LOOKED left and saw a CHAIR in front of me. I
MOVED toward it and Johnny sat in the CHAIR. From this vantage, he was
facing a small table with a glass-doored CABINET in it. Neither MOVE
nor USE worked for me here.
While Johnny was making himself comfy in the CHAIR, I LOOKED left
and found a KEYPAD that I could USE. This sent the contraption Johnny
was sitting in, an ONO-SENDAI MACHINE, into a whirring frenzy, but it
didn't do anything else at this point. I LOOKED right twice, and saw a
TOOLBOX. I USED it and Johnny picked up another hard-to-identify item.
It looked to me like a very large version of one of those KEYS that
you use to open sardine cans. Whatever it was, Johnny nabbed it.
I LOOKED right and MOVED to get out of the chair. When Johnny
stood up, he was facing a YELLOW CURTAIN. I USED the curtain and
Spider parted it. I got a peek of Jane lying down in the background
while Spider yelled at us that she needed rest. Afterwards, Johnny was
facing the center of the lab where we started.
Since I'd given everything in the LAB the once-over at this
point, I just let Johnny leave on his own through a different CURTAIN
(this time a WHITE one). Here we entered movie mode. Johnny asks
Spider to give his apologies to Jane. Next stop: Ralfi's. We were
whisked there in movie mode.
OFF(ICE) WITH HIS HEAD: Ralfi's Office
Guess what? Not only Ralfi, but his flunkies and the Yakuza
baddies are waiting for you at the office. They're gearing up for a
decapitation party at which Johnny's the guest of honor. No one's
interested in Johnny's suggestion that they just download the
information from his head because traces might be left for others to
discover. And Shinji's starting to do that thumb thing again.
Luckily, Jane has thrown off her shakes and comes to the rescue,
although she won't shut up about her fee and keeps driving up the
price of her services. She does, however, create a ruckus during which
she and Johnny scram. Before they were clear, I had to fight (as Jane)
a female ninja-type who may be (from the booklet and the movie script)
called Pretty, although this is unclear at this point. Again, I just
KICKED her immediately every time I got the letter screen until she
HOME SWEET HOME: Back at Johnny's
After the fight we were back in movie mode, and returned to
Johnny's apartment where movie mode promptly stopped. When it did,
Johnny was facing the VID-PHONE. I USED it. A woman appeared and a
short movie sequence ensued. She tells Johnny that to get the data out
of his head, he needs to rebuild a data rig. Pictures of the pieces he
needs to build the rig float past on the screen as she speaks. She
further tells him that she has the download code and it is stored in
three separate data port locations "here" in Newark. She warns that
Johnny must hurry because the data is going to start seeping out of
his implant. (Gee, I bet you wondered where you were all this time,
didn't you? Newark? Why couldn't it have been Paris?!) If you keep
USING the VID-PHONE, you'll eventually get the blonde Asian woman who
greets you when you die in the game instead of the first woman (whose
identity at this point is a mystery). The Asian woman (a.k.a. "Gobble
Net Girl") is not much help.
I LOOKED right to a BULLETIN BOARD and USED it several times
until I concluded I'd seen everything on it. I found a MENU from an
Italian take-out joint, a CALENDAR, a POSTER, and a motion-picture
POSTCARD from a fetching pal vacationing in California. Johnny took
none of these. I LOOKED right twice more and Johnny faced a WINDOW. If
you USE here, Johnny winces in pain. The data is beginning to seep out
of the implant and into his system as the message from the woman on
the vid-phone warned.
I LOOKED left and MOVED forward. LEFT and MOVE again took me back
to Johnny's BEDROOM. I LOOKED right and MOVED (USE worked too) toward
the bookshelf. Johnny picked up a BOOK and heard a tag line from
Gibson's short story "If they think you're crude, go technical, if
they think you're technical, go crude." Ponder this for awhile. Maybe
you'll be able to figure out what it means. If you can, send me the
answer by email because I'm still at the pondering stage. And by the
way, if you know the meaning of life, I'll take that too while you're
at it. And don't say 42!
Then I LOOKED right again twice and was back at the second
BEDSIDE TABLE where I didn't USE the first time through the bedroom.
This time, I USED here, and Johnny picked up what appeared to be three
CARDS of some sort. I LOOKED left and MOVED back to the main room,
where I found myself facing mountains of ELECTRONIC GADGETS. I MOVED
toward them, and Johnny sat in a chair across from a SCREEN. I USED
the SCREEN several times and saw the news from Beijing, from which I
learned that the powers that be are denying that NAS exists in China.
J-Bone also insinuated himself into my view for the first time, and
gave his message that the "man's" making money off of NAS and there
isn't a cure. I kept USING the SCREEN until no new images showed up.
Then I LOOKED left and found myself contemplating another KEYPAD. I
USED, and entered VIRTUA-VILLE. There, I encountered another short
movie in which the first woman from the vid-phone appears and tells
Johnny again that he needs to rebuild the rig and that she's hidden
the download code information in three locations in Virtua-ville. This
is an important distinction: information in Virtua-ville, code in
Newark. But when I listened to this the first time through, I didn't
catch it. Instead my reaction was: oh my. Is it Newark? Is it
Virtua-ville? Where the heck are the dataports? And why in tarnation
is this nice lady trying to confuse me like this?
As an aside, I played this sequence (the bedroom and the chair in
front of the screen) a few times, USING all over the place multiple
times to make sure I didn't skip anything and both times there came a
point where Jane screamed and Johnny was swept into a fight with that
same Henson-maybe guy -- the exact same fight as the one at the
beginning of the game. If this happens, KICK KICK KICK until he goes
down. Then you can go back to the apartment and continue where you
left off. Just MOVE (or wait for Johnny to) when the fight is over.
Note, however, that you now also have other options in the form
of the "DIRECTION SCREEN" where you land after the Henson fight or
after leaving Johnny's apartment under your own power. Here, for the
first time in the game, you can choose the next place you visit. The
default is Johnny's apartment, and if you do nothing you'll end up
there. "Up" also seems to take you to the apartment, and "down" does
nothing, so you'll end up there unless you choose right or left. Right
takes you to Ralfi's; left to the subway.
In my case, I was certain I wasn't finished in Johnny's
apartment, because I hadn't had a chance to LOOK right while sitting
in the chair in front of the computer screen. So I made my way back to
the chair (LOOK right twice and MOVE) and then LOOKED right again.
Johnny was facing another part of the electronic GADGET, so I USED and
sure enough, he detached some CABLES from some sockets and stuffed
them into his jacket pocket.
I had also noticed while examining the keypad (LOOK left twice
from where Johnny detached the cables) that there appeared to be
another room -- perhaps a bathroom -- beyond it. I MOVED from the
keypad and entered this room, which was, in fact, a BATHROOM. When
Johnny stopped walking, he was facing the BATHTUB. USING here gave a
close up view of the SHOWER HEAD. LOOKING right made Johnny turn to
the BASIN. USING at the BASIN few times caused him to contemplate his
reflection in the mirror above it, as well as the data seepage that
appeared to be continuing. Jane walked in during one of these USES and
promised Johnny that they would get the data out.
I LOOKED right two more times and faced the... Johnny. I USED
here several times, hoping Johnny would opt for technical instead of
crude, and was relieved that the only two things he did were flush the
TOILET and open its tank to take some MONEY hidden there.
At this point, I decided to consult the game booklet. I knew I
had seen a description of the items that make up the rig somewhere.
Turns out the items needed are listed on page 16: (1) data goggles,
(2) interlocking bi-directional cables, and (3) a mini-ROM reader.
Nice, I thought. Those cables Johnny had picked up to the right of the
chair might be interlocking bi-directional ones. But of course, since
there is no subtitle option and Johnny didn't jump up and down
shrieking "Eureka! Interlocking bi-directional cables!" when he picked
them up, I had no idea whether they were actually the ones I needed.
And I'd seen goggles before, on the bedside table. I didn't expect
them to be the right ones (too obvious) but I tried it anyway just in
case. As I suspected, Johnny wouldn't take them, he just kept having
the same flashback from the beginning of the game and putting them
While I was in the BEDROOM, I checked the bookshelf again and
found nothing new. I also checked the second BEDSIDE TABLE again and
bizarrely, the CARDS Johnny had picked up before were there again when
I USED and he took them again. I kept trying to USE at this TABLE
after getting the CARDS again to make sure I hadn't missed anything
and guess what? I got dragged into that fight with Henson from the
beginning of the game yet again. This was really starting to get old,
so after kicking Henson down yet another time, I decided to leave
Johnny's apartment and go somewhere else. Ralfi's sounded like a good
idea, since circumstances (ahem) had prevented me from exploring there
on my last visit. I left Johnny's apartment and LOOKED right at the
direction screen to go to Ralfi's.
JUST BUSINESS: Back at Ralfi's
Once at Ralfi's for the second time, movie mode starts and Johnny
finds that Jane is very curious about his wet-wiring and what must
have been erased from his memory to make room for the data. She asks
about his memories, his parents. He turns the question around on her
and she answers that she has one parent that she never sees. Then she
announces that she's going to look for their "friends" and walks off,
leaving Johnny alone to poke around Ralfi's.
As soon as Jane left, Johnny was facing a DESK. I MOVED toward it
and then USED. Johnny examined the DESK. I USED again and he found an
unusual device that appeared to be a MAGNIFYING GLASS of sorts, with
lights around its edges. He inspected it and put it down. I LOOKED
right to a VID-PHONE and USE gave me a closer look at it. I then
LOOKED left twice and USED twice. Johnny adjusted the settings on some
sort of GADGET and then USED the MAGNIFYING GLASS to read a piece of
paper, which turned out to be in a language other than English. This
paper mentioned the Grand Elegance Hotel. Johnny then secreted the
paper in a desk drawer. I continued to USE in this direction to make
sure I hadn't missed anything. I USED four times, and each time I did,
Johnny repeated the sequence with the MAGNIFYING GLASS and a different
language appeared on the paper. The fourth time, English appeared. The
English translation announced a package scheduled for delivery. Johnny
then folded the paper and placed it in his jacket. I didn't get
anything else by USING in this spot after that sequence.
Next I LOOKED left and MOVED twice until I was facing the DOOR TO
RALFI'S. Here, I LOOKED right and saw a number of PHOTOS. I USED here
and watched a video clip that confirmed that the female ninja-type who
challenged Jane before was indeed Pretty (and I wasn't). After that, I
LOOKED left and USED to see another film clip. Apparently, I was
looking at promotional materials for some of the "talent" that Ralfi
represented. I LOOKED right twice and USED. Pretty scary how much that
guy looks like Johnny, isn't it? You'll be delighted to learn that
this character is being marketed as "a regular Fort Knox" and has a
180 Gb storage capacity. Him and Einstein. If it is Johnny, too bad
they've stuffed over 300 Gb in there.
I next LOOKED right again and MOVED twice. Now Johnny was sitting
on Ralfi's SOFA facing a small SCREEN. I USED here and a propaganda
film about New Newark started. As Johnny was watching it, Jane called
to him to hurry. When the film was over, Johnny was facing an item
that looked for all the world like a MINI-ROM DRIVE, which he needed
to reconstruct his rig. I USED and Johnny took it. Then I LOOKED right
and saw a rumpled JACKET slung over the sofa. USE here until Johnny
discovers what looks to be a CHIP in a packet and some GOGGLES, which
were the only items I found here. Johnny took them both. I LOOKED left
twice -- another strange GADGET on Ralfi's floor. I got no results by
Just to be thorough now that I had some items that were
apparently from Ralfi's jacket, I went back to the DESK before leaving
the office and USED the VID-PHONE there. To my partial surprise, I was
able to view a message that had apparently been stored in one of the
items Johnny had picked up. And I learned... not much at all from it.
I should note that the longer you take to explore Ralfi's the
more likely it is that you'll get drawn into another fight between
Jane and Pretty, just as you were drawn into the fight between Johnny
and Henson while investigating Johnny's apartment. This can happen
multiple times depending on how long you fiddle around in the office.
Each time it happened to me, I did my KICK number on Pretty till she
went ker-splash in a nearby fountain, then just went back to Ralfi's
(RIGHT at the direction screen) and continued where I had left off. I
wasn't at all impressed with this design "feature." It became flat out
boring after awhile to have to keep fighting these fights and the
impediment to progress was quite annoying.
I decided at this point go back to the subway, since, as with
Ralfi's, I had been rather rushed there last time I'd been there. I
had developed a short term goal of going back to the lab after looking
around the subway and trying to download at the Ono-Sendai machine
there. I was pretty sure at this point that I had what I needed to
construct the data rig since I'd found goggles, a mini-ROM and
something that might be the right cables. I also felt fairly confident
that the lab contained one of the three data ports (either by Newark
or Virtua-ville standards, since I was still laboring under my initial
misconception about what the woman in the vid-phone had told me)
because the machine there had the same setup as the one in Johnny's
apartment that had accessed Virtua-ville before. But what happened
next totally confused me.
URBAN SPELUNKER: The Subway
Upon arriving in the subway for the second time, we were facing a
RAILING. MOVE took me face to face with Squatter, who was chortling in
a very silly manner. I MOVED again, and Johnny walked past the
TURNSTILE and came up against Squatter again. I USED, and Johnny
offered Squatter the MONEY he'd taken from the toilet for Squatter's
RIG. Squatter wouldn't give his rig up, but he did give Johnny the
extra RIG he had for his (now deceased) dog. (Note that if you don't
have the MONEY and you USE on Squatter a couple of times, Johnny will
just relieve him of the GOGGLES.) Here's where I started to get
confused. I was left wondering why I needed to buy a rig when I'd been
told to construct one and sent on a quest to recover the necessary
pieces -- which I thought I'd done, or at least come very close to
When Johnny had taken the rig, he was facing a walkway. I wanted
to see whether I could get anything more from Squatter, so I LOOKED
right twice to go back to where he had been standing -- but he had
disappeared. USING here only gave me a view of WATER dripping down a
wall. I LOOKED right to face the TURNSTILE. USE here caused Johnny to
lift a panel on the TURNSTILE mechanism and reveal another one of
those GADGETS I'd seen at Ralfi's on the desk and to the left of the
sofa, then replace the panel. I LOOKED right to the walkway again and
MOVED to take a step down it, then LOOKED left. There was a PHONE
here, and when I USED it, the Gobble Net Girl told me she wasn't in
service at this time. Typical. After all, it's a subway phone.
Next I LOOKED right and MOVED again. I seemed to have come to the
end of the walkway. USE here gave only a close up view of a POSTER on
the PILLAR I found myself facing. I LOOKED right and MOVED again, and
Johnny crossed the subway tracks. He stopped in front of an odd,
ELECTRONIC GIZMO that spoke to him. I've certainly never seen anything
like it, even in New York (but then again, this was Newark). It might
have been a cross between a subway ticket vending machine and a
maintenance station. I USED here and Johnny put on a RUBBER GLOVE
(which I believe is what I thought was the piece of cloth he found
behind the picture of Jane in Spider's lab earlier) and placed his
hand on the machine's IDENTITY READER. This, we were meant to believe,
fooled the machine into thinking he's a transit worker, so much so
that it opened a PANEL on its side. Inside was another of those
GADGETS like the ones at Ralfi's and the one in the turnstile, as well
as a KEY. Johnny took the KEY and the panel shut.
I then LOOKED left to find another MACHINE. USE made Johnny
insert the KEY. This MACHINE appeared to me to control the power
source for the subway's rails. A METER in the machine showed some
numbers decreasing, but I could not determine exactly what they meant.
I tried this several times, and the same thing happened each time.
When I was finished playing around with USE on the machine, I was
facing the subway TUNNEL head-on. MOVE, LOOK left and MOVE, took me
under the GRATING that saved Johnny and Jane when the train sped past
at the beginning of the game. Johnny stepped out of here on his own.
Then I LOOKED right twice, MOVED, LOOKED right, MOVED and LOOKED right
to check out the one spot in the subway we hadn't examined until now
-- another RAILING. I USED. Oh. So this was where the HOOK Squatter
had given Johnny came in. I uttered an audible humph and decided to
Now I felt as though I had pretty much exhausted the subway, so I
LOOKED left, MOVED, LOOKED left and USED to go back into the lab.
RETURN TO THE PLANET OF THE SPIDER: Back in the Lab
I used the same basic routine in the lab the second time as I had
the first, and on the assumption that you're now familiar with the
lab, I'll spare you repeating the LOOKS and MOVES again. I doubt
you'll find yourself needing to refer to them, but if you do they are
they're listed in the HUMP? WHAT HUMP? section.
I USED at the RED BOXES, and this time Johnny found an electric
drill with a small CIRCULAR SAW in its bit. He tested it and then
At the TABLE, I USED and found nothing new, just a rehash of the
views of the cryogenic head freezer.
At the body part TANK, I USED. Johnny took out the sardine-KEY
shaped tool and inserted it into a hole at the base of the tank. He
turned it, and a submerged GADGET (another one of those I'd now seen
four of elsewhere) raised up briefly, then lowered back into the tank.
USING multiple times here yielded the same result.
At the HUTCH, I USED and Johnny took the RED CASE out of the
drawer and used the CIRCULAR SAW he'd just picked up to hack through
the case's lock. He opened the case, examined it, flashed back to
reading the message about the delivery at Ralfi's office, took out the
sheet of PAPER he'd translated, and compared the letterhead on the
paper to the writing inside the CASE. He then replaced the CASE in the
drawer. USING again gave only another view of the NAS literature
Johnny had examined earlier.
Back at the BULLETIN BOARD, I USED and Johnny eavesdropped on a
video intercom message from Jane to Spider. It was about Johnny, but
wasn't very instructive. I LOOKED right and USED at the YELLOW
CURTAIN. Oooooooh.... Spider and Jane! I was definitely interrupting
something here, but at least they were fully clothed. Whew. How
I sat Johnny back down at the ONO-SENDAI MACHINE. Before I tested
my hypothesis about this device accessing one of the data ports, I
wanted to make sure I'd covered all the other bases. I USED on the
table with the glass CABINET. This time Johnny took another MINI-ROM
READER. More confusion. Why did he need another one? We now had two
sets of goggles (one from Squatter that might have already been
"rigged" with cables), two mini-ROMS, and some other cables. Maybe we
had to have two rigs? To complete the circle, I LOOKED right and USED.
Nothing new in the TOOLBOX.
DOWNLOADING at the KEYPAD didn't work, so I USED and was
transported to VIRTUA-VILLE. For some reason, I got it into my head to
try to save here and see if I would return to the same spot after the
save. No such luck. I had to go all the way back to the chair and USE
at the keypad again.
ON THE TRAIL OF THE DATAPORTS: Virtua-ville and Newark
Once in VIRTUA-VILLE I sat through the host's rap about the
various "shows" available. Three doors, three options, and bad
memories of Monty Hall waving a handful of cash as a woman in a
chicken suit scratches around in the unfathomable depths of her
handbag for a clothespin.
The left door would allow me to visit the RAINFORESTS of Costa
Rica; the center door, the GOBI DESERT; and the right door, the middle
of the PACIFIC OCEAN. Costa Rica rang a distant bell. I went back to
the game booklet and found, at page 14, a reference to Costa Rica in
the context of the transfer of someone called Dr. Allcome's payment
for the data Johnny was carrying. This sounded promising, so as soon
as the Virtua-ville host finished his spiel, I MOVED, LOOKED left, and
MOVED again to enter the RAINFOREST. The host started gabbing again
and I just waited for him to stop before I started to explore.
It soon became painfully apparent that the rainforest was a maze.
Once I discovered this, I let Johnny walk back to the start on his own
and started over after getting out my trusty graph paper (don't go
gaming without it) so that I could map it. I must say, mapping this
thing was a total bummer because of the lack of full control you have
over the movement interface. If you wait too long (as in, if it takes
too long to draw your square on the graph paper), Johnny will start
walking back out of the maze on his own and then it's hard to
determine where you left off. Also, as you've probably found out by
now, sometimes MOVING doesn't take you where you wanted to go on the
first try if you've hit the MOVE key at the letter screen too late.
This is deadly for mapping because if you hit what seems to be a
boundary to the maze, which you can tell from the static on your
screen, then turn and hit more static, you can't be completely certain
whether you've hit different static or the same static (i.e., whether
you've actually moved or not).
I started this maze over and over again because of these issues
and kept trying to map it. Eventually, I ran into the woman from the
vid-phone in Johnny's apartment. These directions took me to where she
was, just beyond a grey-barked tree that was approximately in the
center of the screen.
After entering the rainforest, LOOK right, MOVE, MOVE, LOOK left,
MOVE, LOOK right, MOVE, LOOK left, MOVE, LOOK left, MOVE.
You then see a movie mode segment in which the woman tells Johnny
that he has to hook up to certain specific data ports that she will
direct him to to avoid frying himself, and shows him a picture of the
FIRST DATA PORT. I found it infuriating that this picture (as well as
the second and third ones, described below) showed up for all of a
couple of seconds and I couldn't figure out how to retrieve it.
Luckily, I recognized the spot she'd shown Johnny because of the blue
chart at the upper right hand side. It was the BULLETIN BOARD in
I let Johnny walk out of the maze and Virtua-Ville on his own,
then saved my game. Once back in the lab, I went back to the BULLETIN
BOARD and DOWNLOADED. Johnny put together his rig and hooked it up to
the GADGET at the base of the bulletin board, making it apparent that
the various GADGETS I'd seen in different locations up to this point
were DATA PORTS. The "downloading" took place without a hitch. It
seemed to free up some of Johnny's own lost memories as a field of
yellow flowers spread across the screen after this portion of the
downloading was completed.
What works once sometimes works again is typically a useful maxim
for me, so of course, I tried DOWNLOADING at that data port again. It
didn't work. But what _did_ work was returning to the spot in the
RAINFOREST where I'd found the woman before. Once there, she appears
again and shows Johnny the location of the SECOND DATA PORT.
It occurred to me as I met the woman for the second time that it
was, perhaps, unnecessary to go wandering around the Gobi Desert and
the Pacific Ocean at this point since she seemed to be willing to make
repeat performances in the rainforest. And indeed, this turned out to
be the case, as I only met her in the RAINFOREST during my game and
was able to get all the information I needed to finish. I did,
however, take a break after finding the first data port to look for
her in the GOBI DESERT. She was there, but she didn't have anything
different to say -- she just showed Johnny the second data port
location again and it was the same location she'd showed him in the
RAINFOREST. For the purists among you, I'll include the directions to
her hangouts in the desert and the ocean as they appeared in my game.
GOBI DESERT: LOOK left, MOVE, LOOK right, MOVE, LOOK right, MOVE,
MOVE. PACIFIC OCEAN: MOVE, LOOK left, MOVE, LOOK left, MOVE, LOOK
left, MOVE. (I don't quite get this last one as it just takes you in a
circle, but I tried it three times in my game and it was the same
Unfortunately, the second time I visted this woman, I had no idea
what the location was that she was showing Johnny. I was glad that I
had saved after the first "downloading," because I had to go back to
the RAINFOREST several times to get another glimpse of the second
port. Before it dawned on me what the second picture the woman was
showing me actually depicted, I fried poor Johnny at: (1) the
turnstile port, (2) the subway phone, (3) the port on the counter
under the photos in the frame in which you're facing the picture that
might be of Johnny in Ralfi's office (which port noticed for the first
time while on this data port hunt), (4) the port on Johnny's bedroom
wall, and (5) the port on Johnny's living room wall, as you're facing
the exit to the apartment (which I also noticed for the first time
because I was searching specifically for data ports).
The more I examined the picture of the second location, the more
I realized that the yellow color at the left of it was not a wall or a
background (which assumptions had led me to make the mistakes above),
but something that was reflecting light. I'd seen a light coming from
the same angle at the open panel in the SUBWAY'S talking GIZMO, where
Johnny had taken the key. Sure enough, this was the SECOND DATA PORT
and I DOWNLOADED here successfully.
After saving the game, I ran back to the LAB, fired up the
ONO-SENDAI MACHINE, and hopped through the RAINFOREST again to the
woman from the vid-phone. This time she shows Johnny a location I
recognized without a doubt: it was the port on the floor next to
Ralfi's SOFA. After Johnny took himself out of Virtua-ville, I
high-tailed it to Ralfi's, sat on the SOFA, LOOKED left and
DOWNLOADED. The now familiar movie mode view of some sort of
electronic data moving took place. At the end a screen appeared that
stated something about PharmaPath and NAS, and the cryptic suggestion
that the data was ready for downloading. Then I saw Johnny's eye, and
that was the last thing I saw until I had a very unpleasant surprise.
AN EXEGESIS ON SOFTWARE FRUSTRATIONS: The Disk 2 Fiasco
After movie mode ended, the Gobble Net Girl told me to insert
disk 2. In any multi-CD game I've ever played, this experience is
never the most fun of the lot since it requires you to make a quick
judgment as to whether the pizza grease is sufficiently banished from
your fingertips to trust them to the disk changing process. But it has
always given me a feeling of accomplishment, and has always been
pretty painless. Just take out the old CD, stick in the new one, and
Except in this game. Here, as I was inserting the second disk, I
was suddenly dropped out of the game to the JOHNNY MNEMONIC Windows
icon. I tried to start up again once I got disk 2 inserted, but when I
tried to call up my last saved game, I got a message from the program
saying that disk 1 hadn't been completed so the saved game wouldn't
take me to disk 2. Excuse me. Wasn't I just told to insert disk 2? And
now you want to blame me for the fact that my saved game won't take me
"Ok then, I'll play it your way," I said aloud to my screen.
"I'll go back and save." I tried saving during the beginning and
middle of the third "download." I tried saving at the end of the third
"download," when the NAS screen appears. I tried saving right before
the Gobble Net Girl appeared to tell me to insert disk 2 and right
after. All of these saved games produced the same message when I tried
to call them up after inserting disk 2. I tried just hitting the X key
and pausing the game while I inserted the disk. I felt the tears
starting to well in my eyes as the last of these failed to work and
produced some ear-shattering static through my speakers.
I started to think that perhaps there was no way to do what it
was that I was setting out to do, at least on my system. So I went
searching for answers. I found nothing in the game booklet to address
this point and nothing on the Sony Web site listed in the booklet. I
did, however, get some responses to a message I had posted in The
Gamers' Forum on CompuServe. It appeared that I was not alone, and
that this exact same thing had happened to at least two other people.
One of these folks told me that he had concluded that you
couldn't save, and he had determined that you had to proceed with the
game by using the disk 2 button that appears when you start the game
from disk 2. The other told me that he had been able to save right
when the Gobble Net Girl appeared, but before she said anything.
I decided to call Sony, and this is what I learned: the data
ports that Johnny is supposed to use can be different depending on how
the game has been played up to the transition between disk 1 and disk
2. Apparently, the last data port in my game may have been responsible
for a bug in the transition. I was asked to examine my MNEMONIC\ENGINE
directory for the file CINEACTV.MPP. I was told that file contains the
game data from disk 1 and is created after disk 1 is finished. I did
have this file in my directory, so tech support told me to just start
with disk 2 and I wouldn't be missing much of anything. I can't say
that this made a great deal of sense to me since I wasn't able to call
up my saved game, but I figured Sony probably knew better than I did.
SOME PIECES BEGIN TO FIT: Spider, a Weird Holy Man, and the Yakuza
What was missing from my game, according to Sony, was a movie
mode scene after DOWNLOADING at the THIRD DATA PORT in which Johnny
becomes ill and is taken to Spider's. This accounts for the disjointed
feeling I had when I hit the disk 2 button and Johnny was no longer at
Disk 2 begins in movie mode in Spider's LAB, where Jane and
Spider flit nervously around Johnny while Spider explains that what
Johnny has stored in his head was all of the R&D information from a
company called PharmaPath relating to the cure for NAS! Spider also
reveals that the woman from the vid-phone is Anna K., PharmaPath's
founder, who is now dead in body, but remains alive in mind through
the transfer of her cognitive qualities into some form of AI. Spider,
it turns out, is also Dr. Allcome, and he's setting about taking the
data out of Johnny. (Of course, if you've seen the movie, you already
know about Anna, the nature of the data, and that Spider is a part of
the underground community of doctors who are trying to deal with the
rampant problem of NAS which affects half the world's population,
regardless of what they're saying in Beijing.)
This sequence caused a big "wait just a minute here" on my part,
because I had interpreted the "downloading" I had just done at the
three data ports as downloading the data. I considered for awhile, and
decided that what had happened, despite the fact that I had used the
game's download command, was this: I had not actually downloaded; I
had obtained the three parts of the download code and that Johnny was
now primed to have the information _actually_ downloaded. That's what
the message at the end of disk 1 on the NAS screen had been trying to
tell me. How much less confusing it would have been had there been a
separate key for the process of obtaining the download code as opposed
to actually downloading it.
Still in movie mode, we cut to the subway where a new baddie,
Street Preacher is shooting the breeze with Squatter. Street Preacher
then crashes Spider's lab and interrupts the downloading efforts by
dispatching Spider. Jane and Johnny run out of the lab and onto the
subway platform. Jane tells the faltering Johnny that she's going to
take him to J-Bone. Then Street Preacher catches up to them and
engages Jane in a fight.
Although this fight is a little more tricky than the others I'd
encountered before, I found, after some persistence, that I was able
to get through it repeatedly with a slight alteration to my previous
strategy. Jane will take a few hits, but it's worth it -- because when
she does, you know exactly where she'll be when it's over.
In this fight, I BLOCKED the first time Street Preacher attacked,
and then used nothing but KICK. However, I didn't use it just as the
letter screen appeared. Instead, I used it _before_ the letter screen
appeared, every time I got a stop-action shot on Jane. This seemed to
make her avoid most of Street Preacher's blows by swooping down toward
the ground and kicking low -- or thwapping him head-on if he was in
the right posture. Note that if she gets hit while she's kicking,
she'll jump in the air and turn around until she's facing forward
again. The stop-action shot I used here was the one right when she
faced forward. I got to the point where I could hit KICK
instantaneously with this stop-action shot. I don't know if this was a
quirk with the way the game ran on my system or not, but it worked for
me. If you're blessed with completely smooth video, try timing your
KICKS so that you direct them immediately before the point of view
switches from Jane to Street Preacher and maybe this will replicate my
As Street Preacher goes down, he screams "You're going to burn in
the fire," then there's a movie mode sequence in which Shinji and Co.
appear as Jane and Johnny are hiding behind a pillar in the subway.
Our heroes discuss their situation and note that three Yakuza is going
to be a problem. When movie mode ends, they're facing the door that
leads to Spider's lab. I USED here. Doo doo. It was locked, and while
I was trying to open it, Jane and Johnny were incinerated by a Yakuza
flamethrower. I should have known the intercom was there for a reason.
Saving after the victory over Street Preacher hadn't helped me to
avoid having to fight him again to get back to this point, so I had to
go through the entire fight again. Afterwards, I LOOKED right and
tried to USE hoping that Johnny would grab the pipe hanging in front
of the POSTER to do a Tarzan number (after all, Jane was right there),
but this didn't work either. So I had to bop Street Preacher yet
After the next time I'd started over and knocked down Street
Preacher, I LOOKED left twice and MOVED. Jane and Johnny ran across
the subway TRACKS and stopped in front of the GIZMO. I held my breath,
doubting very seriously that Johnny still had the rubber glove since I
hadn't been able to start from a saved game. Luckily, he didn't need
it. I had to USE twice before Johnny committed, but when he did, he
grabbed the GIZMO, which directed a bolt of electricity at Henson.
After Henson went all crispy, we were facing the GRATING. I LOOKED
right and MOVED toward the exit. Jane and Johnny clambered up and out
of the subway, with Shinji close behind. Shinji cut off his own route
when he blasted the rungs Jane and Johnny had climbed up to escape.
HEAVEN CAN'T WAIT: In Heaven with J-Bone and the LoTeks
Movie mode went into high gear once Jane and Johnny made it out
of the subway. J-Bone is waiting for them and takes them up to
"Heaven." If you've seen the movie, you know this is the above ground
"underground" headquarters built under a bridge. Here the LoTeks live
and work, "outing" important information that the big corporations
would prefer hidden from the masses. They're well equipped for
J-Bone tells Johnny his plan: Johnny will download the cure
through J-Bone's setup, a neuro-binary translator, and J-Bone will
broadcast it to the far corners of the globe. Johnny's initial
reaction is to resist, but Jane implores him to help and he gives in
immediately. J-Bone sets about preparing for the downloading and
Of course, just as the downloading starts, who should appear but
the Yakuza. The scene erupts into chaos as J-Bone tries to get Johnny
and Jane out the back way. During the madness, Jane gets some
well-placed kicks in and sends Shinji over the side of Heaven, into
what might be Newark Bay. J-Bone takes a slug in the shoulder, and
yells to Johnny, who is in some type of hydraulic lift, that he must
reconnect the broadcast signal and download "direct." When movie mode
ends, Johnny's above where J-Bone and the rest are, facing a bank of
computer screens, controls and switches. It's a good idea to save
here, so you can be assured that you won't have to go through the
subway sequence again. You're about to encounter the only real puzzle
in the game, and it may take a few tries to solve it.
I found out as I was messing around with the various machines
just to see what they did that I was under some time pressure here. If
you don't get the right settings on all the machines and download
before time's up, the game ends here and you have to go back to your
saved game. If you download without the settings on the computers
adjusted properly, Johnny dies. So I decided to approach this
methodically, taking my time to see what all the options were even if
I had to start over because time ran out. I reasoned that this would
prepare me to make a serious attempt to set the machines.
I started by MOVING forward so that I was close to the machines,
then LOOKING left four times. I was facing the far left control. This
is a POWER SWITCH; it's a toggle with two options, ON and STANDBY as I
found out by USING here several times. I then LOOKED right to the
POWER SETTING CONTROL. USING here several times revealed that this
control has three settings: 1/3 power, 2/3 power and overload. I
LOOKED right again and discovered a CONNECTOR CONTROL. USING numerous
times showed me three possible settings here: emergency in/out, a
damaged hard drive, and neuro-binary translator.
I LOOKED right again and found an ENCRYPTION PROTOCOL SELECTOR.
USE and you'll see four settings: Secon Script XX, ISDN-559 Data Flo,
Gro-well 9488 and Zuur Anti-block. USING changes them from one to the
other, but the kludginess of the interface makes it a little hard to
predict which one will come up with each USE. After this, I LOOKED
right and saw the screen I'd faced at the start -- it's an
INFORMATIONAL SCREEN that will either tell you the transmission is
blocked or it isn't depending on the encryption other settings you've
chosen, notably (as I found out later) whether the satellite dish is
The next thing I saw when I LOOKED right was the most difficult
to interpret. It was a GRAPHICAL DISPLAY (a Sony -- how cute) which
might have controlled wave-length, but didn't disclose exactly what it
did. I also found it difficult to tell whether this display had two or
three settings. USE definitely made some sort of change because Johnny
turned a knob. I tried to count the number of different turns he made
as I USED, but was still unable to tell with certainty whether it had
two or three settings. As it turned out, it didn't really matter.
I LOOKED right again. This time, I saw the EMERGENCY I/O HOOKUP.
USE did nothing for me here, but DOWNLOAD did -- it sent Johnny to an
RIGHT from the EMERGENCY I/O HOOKUP led to two screens (more
Sonys -- more cute) which, at the time, were showing nothing but
static. USING here caused Johnny to manipulate a button, but resulted
in nothing but more static. I'll call this the SATELLITE CONTROL.
RIGHT from the TWO SCREENS led to another screen (you guessed it)
with a satellite dish depicted on it and the message "stand by." USE
toggled it between ACTIVE and STAND BY. This was the SATELLITE SWITCH.
Initially, I thought it would be a good idea to keep both the
power switch and the satellite switch on stand by and then flip them
both once I got the rest of the settings right, but I found out that
with the power switch on stand by, I couldn't get much of anything
else to work. So I left the POWER SWITCH at the ON position.
I had pretty much decided that the CONNECTOR CONTROL had to be
set to EMERGENCY I/O because that was the only DOWNLOAD option near
by. So I set it to EMERGENCY I/O and left it there while I tried a
number of other things. I turned out to be right about this in the
I flipped the SATELLITE SWITCH to ACTIVE to see what would
happen. This brought the SATELLITE CONTROL alive. I now saw identical
views of a satellite dish on each screen, and now when I USED here,
the positions of the dish changed. I found four positions in all --
back right, back left, front left, and front right views -- but I
didn't find the last of these until after I'd fried Johnny a couple of
The most confusing part of this puzzle to me was the mixed
message the INFORMATION SCREEN gave if you adjusted the ENCRYPTION
PROTOCOL SELECTOR from its initial setting. On the one hand, it said
broadcast was blocked. On the other hand, this same screen said that
it was set for no encryption. It seemed to me that I'd want to have an
unencrypted message for this broadcast, and the game didn't give me
any clues as to why I'd want to use encryption and if so what kind --
except that I had to use some sort of encryption because the
ENCRYPTION PROTOCOL SELECTOR didn't seem to have a no-encryption
In any event, I tried it with the blocking message (and with
other wrong settings, as it turned out) and Johnny died. So I went
back and USED until it was set for Gro-well 9488, which gave me an all
clear message on the INFORMATION SCREEN. But this alone didn't save
It took a few tries, but I eventually discovered some settings
that worked: power on, power set to 2/3, I/O connector, Gro-well 9488
protocol, satellite control showing the dish pointing forward and to
the right, and satellite switch set to active. I stumbled into the
correct setting on the GRAPHICAL DISPLAY by USING it last until I got
a message "uplink successful." Then I LOOKED right to the EMERGENCY
I/O HOOKUP and DOWNLOADED.
WELCOME TO VIRTUAL SAMURAI 3000: Virtua-ville Revisited
I was disappointed to find myself back in Virtua-ville -- the
shows hadn't changed, and the host was still giving the same spiel.
And I had to go back through that maze again, since there weren't any
I picked my favorite, the RAINFOREST, and returned to where Anna
had been (see ON THE TRAIL OF THE DATA PORTS above) when I'd been
looking for the locations of the data ports that held the download
code. This time, I found myself face to face with the Virtual Samurai.
I soon discovered that despite his warrior get-up and his threatening
speech, he was basically a wimp. KICK immediately at each letter
screen dispatched him post-haste. Just for fun, if you feel like it,
let him get a few blows in and watch Johnny have his head chopped off
or be cleaved down the middle, then reassemble himself. Ah, the joys
of virtual reality. Be aware, however, that if you tempt fate, you
might end up back at the beginning of the Heaven movie sequence even
if you saved after getting the "uplink successful message." That's
what happened to me, although the machines remained at their correct
settings, so all I had to do was download and go back to meet the
After we defeated the samurai, we went into movie mode. Anna
appeared and stretched out her hand; Johnny placed his palm to palm
with hers. This triggered the download. Afterwards, Anna congratulated
him on its success, and revealed that she was, after all this, his
mother. This was the one place where the game was clearer on a plot
mechanism than the movie. The screenplay had been quite pointed about
this, but was obviously changed during filming.
FIGHT AND FINISH: The Endgame
Still in movie mode, Anna takes her leave, and Johnny returns to
the non-virtual world. One would think now would be time for
rejoicing, but no... it's not over yet. A Yakuza shows up, and J-Bone
lets him know he's outnumbered and would be well advised not to pick a
fight. But Jane yells, "He's mine!" even though the LoTeks are
offering to off him. Now why did she have to go and do that?
In this fight, I departed from my kick method because it wasn't
meeting with great success, and substituted PUNCH immediately at each
letter screen. I died a few times before I arrived at the PUNCH
solution, and ended up having to start over at the computer bank in
Heaven even though I had saved after Virtua-ville. This did not bring
a smile to my face.
PUNCH, however, worked well. When the Yakuza fell, the LoTeks,
with J-Bone and Jane in the lead, slapped him into the chair they'd
planned to use for Johnny's downloading. In the
don't-ask-for-something-or-you-might- get-it vein, they're now gonna
give this Yakuza the data he wants so badly by mainlining it into his
brain. Jane yells to Johnny to "download everything!" and he finds
himself back up at the computer bank.
I found that I couldn't turn off the SATELLITE SWITCH by USING,
nor could I change the SATELLITE CONTROL. So I just went for it, and
changed the CONNECTOR CONTROL to NEURO-BINARY TRANSLATOR -- which I
knew was the contraption the Yakuza was sitting in since J-Bone had
mentioned its name before. Then I LOOKED right four times to the
EMERGENCY I/O HOOKUP and DOWNLOADED. Bye bye Yakuza. Rather like
watching execution by electric chair.
After a short movie mode clip in which everybody's happy happy
happy -- Johnny's got the data out of his head, the Yakuza are
vanquished, and the world has the cure for NAS -- the credits roll.
JOHNNY MNEMONIC is an ambitious project that unfortunately
doesn't live up to its promise as a game. It had a few good moments,
decent acting, and a fairly well-written (albeit somewhat disjointed)
script. However, I got the feeling that the game was developed by
people who just don't play games, because I can't imagine any serious
gamer enjoying this interface and engine, and certainly no serious
adventure gamer would be satisfied with only one true puzzle in an
The lack of inventory control, the saved game function that still
resulted in having to replay numerous scenes, the lack of a mechanism
for identifying items by the names the designers had in mind, the
repetitive and unsatisfying combat, the unresponsive movement
controls, and above all, the inability to pass from disk 1 to disk 2
through a saved game at all possible transition points or a clear
direction to start from disk 2 regardless of success at saving all
detracted from the game and made it nonrecommendable and unmemorable.
Sony, if you're listening...