Manifold Mischief

Mission reviews, essays, and documents of record regarding The Matrix Online. All rights reserved.

Friday, August 26, 2005

SugarShack 01 Mission Reviews Mr. Black

Sugar-Shack 01:  Mission Reviews:  Mr. Black, Sultan of Stratford Campus

The average missions center on getting, moving, and killing, and for the average player, fixated on grinding to 50, this doesn’t make much difference.  But when you can do more with these simple materials, as with the Critical Missions, there is a much deeper sense of accomplishment.  The Contact Missions are fine examples of this creativity.  They are worth your time because each Contact has a personality and style, and the missions themselves are often very inventive.  They give some insight into Exile relationships (which I always love to know more about) and charm us with their plot twists and surprises, along with the creative dialogue with your operator or NPCs.  As you can see, I think they are really fun.  

So, when you reach 50, or when you get tired of running the same mission ad infinitem to grind, check these out.  In this series, I’ll run the suite of mishes for each contact, reporting on highlights and bugs.  They are worth your while, believe me.  As always, your xp and info payout depend on your level.  

We will start our series with one of the more challenging Contact Mish suites, those of Mr. Black, the potentate of Stratford Campus.

Mr. Black, one of the senior Exiles, hangs out smack dab in the middle of Stratford Campus, and is pretty easy to find; corporate security drones hover around him like flies at a picnic, and he’s a stone’s throw from the single Stratford Campus hardline.  Apparently, like many Exiles, he is homeless.  He’s a massive, elegantly-dressed black guy just waiting for you to come and offer your services.  And there is not long to wait.  He has a suite of five missions all of which I ran on Hard.  

General Observations.    All missions were bug-free for this 50th-level lass.  Operator and NPC dialogue were unusually inventive, and worth reading.  In particular, listen to the hired help chatting back and forth; I include some examples below.  Perhaps best of all, there is little traipsing around!  For most you just run back and forth across the square!  As someone who once had to run 2100 meters in heels for a mission (and bugged at that!), this was hugely appreciated.

Mission 01:  Go Underground

This seems straightforward:  three little floppy disks must be protected.  Then you learn they have already been stolen, and must now be retrieved.  This involves infiltrating a skyscraper controlled by The Trainman (present only in name).  At the end you discover there is more to this than meets the eye, and Mr. Black’s representative concludes there will be “some use for your talents, if not your brains”.   The narrative logic does not make total sense here.  But the three-stage trip is pleasant, with some witty observations from the chatty operator and the participants.  Fun!  And no bugs!  And convenient locations.  Some more sense of depth than the average grab-the-loot mish.

Mission 02:  Paper Chase

One of the most unusual premises:  Mr. Black needs a building permit, but the lethargic city bureaucracy has been dragging its heels.  To encourage efficiency, the mission is to kills the offending bureaucrat’s bodyguards and thus free him from the distraction of safety.    If you’ve ever waited in line for a permit or a driver’s license, this story will resonate with you deeply, believe me.  Straightforward, with lots and lots of fighting to get the papers.  Oddly, we do not travel to City Hall to get these.  

Mission 03:  Off White

Who would have thought!  Dame White is his wife!  And like many wives, she likes to keep a close eye on what her husband is up to.  Mr. Black tasks you with getting rid of her spies and retrieving any intel they have accumulated.  There are fine, entertaining moments as one White thug gets nervous and stammers that he d-d-d-oesn’t know wh-why the d-d-door is locked.  Mr. Black approves of your handiwork, and concludes this happy mish by telling you, “If you weren’t a human I might even make you a part of my organization.”  *Sigh*  Oh, I love it when he talks to me like that!  

Mission 04:  Thorny Rose

Mr. Black’s mischievous daughter is in trouble and needs assistance.  This is a rescue, but fortunately you do not need to lead Rose anywhere.  Just kill all the kidnappers and get a package from her.  This was fun, with the hired help chatting about Rose (the “hot mama”, “ixnay on the ohay”), then stopping when you walk in.    And wait till you see what was in the package you had to risk life and limb to retrieve!  It just goes to show that even Exiles have a sentimental side.  

By the way, this would have been better if you had needed to team up with some of Dame White’s people, or reach some understanding with Dame White to win her cooperation to rescue her daughter.  This would have dovetailed soooo well with the immediately previous mission.

Mission 05:  Bringing Home

One of Black’s staff has been kidnapped and must be rescued and then taken to Indigo, (one of Black’s kids) for debriefing.  Lots of targets to kill on hard setting.  The best entertainment is the cut-piece dialogs between Indigo, Xavier, and Indigo’s men, which are well-written and not always expected.  Mr. Black takes care of his own, but is nonetheless a stern taskmaster.

Conclusion.  That’s it for Mr. Black and his mishes!  His have many compelling qualities, such as wit, convenience, and smoothness.  You should definitely check them out, once you can safely handle the rigors of Stratford Campus and its corporate swarms.