Marlow Briggs EP4: Marlow Briggs and the Pipes of Doom

By Shamus Posted Wednesday Aug 6, 2014

Filed under: Spoiler Warning 66 comments

Link (YouTube)

The hardest part of Marlow Briggs isn’t the combat. The hardest thing isn’t the environmental challenges. The hardest thing is explaining the game to other people.

The cutscene was perfect:

The evil bad guy is a dick to his subordinates for no reason. Then he demonstrates a power that – while impressive – doesn’t seem to have any immediate practical use. The main character stands by passively and watches the entire exchange without making any effort to engage these people he’s been chasing for the entire game. Nor does he make any effort to get within earshot, although I guess he hears them anyway? Then the bad guy uses his hoodoo powers on his men to… what? What does that glowing green puff accomplish? There isn’t any sort of transformation to indicate these men have changed. Then Marlow suddenly decides to do something, so he rips open a door and begins shouting at his foes to make sure they see him coming. Then the bad guys start, board, and load and launch their helicopters in the time it takes Marlow to run ten meters. Then Marlow makes no effort to catch his nemesis, the woman who killed him, or the girlfriend they kidnapped, but instead stops to fight TWO(!) mooks that aren’t even in his way. And then he somehow has access to a power he’s never had before, for no reason.

I realize being terrible on purpose is better than being accidentally terrible, but still. Not all of this terribleness is a joke. Some of it is just regular, garden-variety stupid.


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66 thoughts on “Marlow Briggs EP4: Marlow Briggs and the Pipes of Doom

  1. Grudgeal says:

    So, a moment after this game introduces ‘professional’ henchmen who seem to have slightly higher HP and a glowy sword, it introduces… Glowy-powered henchmen who have… What DID those glow-powered henchmen have in the way of powers, anyway?

    Why simply not make that new climactic fight against multiple professionals?

    Also, really stoked that you’re continuing this game. It looks like exactly the sort of stupid nonsense to unwind with after the petering out of Skyrim.

    1. MintSkittle says:

      The only thing I could come up with for the glow powered henchmen is that they gained the power to be mind-controlled by their enemy.

  2. Akri says:

    Yay, more Marlow Briggs! This pleases me ^.^

    1. Thearpox says:

      Yes! Yeesss!

      The chu-chu train of insanity is back on rails. Good.

      1. Tizzy says:

        Oh! To hear the awed disbelief in Rutskarn’s voice when confronted to the perfect story that is Marlow Briggs… He can now lay down his pen, knowing that there is no way in the world that he could write anything even close to that game…

        … which is probably for the best, for us, for him, for the world, and for our collective sanity. There can be only one Marlow Briggs

        1. Sougo says:

          Not until the inevitable sequels!

  3. Warhobo says:

    Don’t forget that within roughly one minute of the helicopter flying off, the game introduces the mechanic that your scythe can extend and latch onto objects.

    1. ET says:

      I’m predicting a later level, where you’re Spidermanning from helicopter to helicopter.

    2. Paul Spooner says:

      Turns out evil death mask spirit of undeath and posession is also kind of a jerk.

      1. Ofermod says:

        I mean, I know I’d be kind of a jerk if I were an evil death mask spirit of undeath and possession.

  4. Phrozenflame500 says:

    Sweet, more of Marlow.

    I’m probably going to pick this up to be honest. I’m a huge fan of ironically terrible plots that’s a homage to specific genres/tropes (a lot of Platinum’s games are like this) and this seems right up my alley.

  5. River Birch says:

    It only gets better from here folks.

  6. ET says:

    Insects generally don’t have proper hearts and veins like big animals do. They just sort of have a whole bunch of interconnected tubes, some of which have small muscle things attached to them, to help slosh their internal fluids around.

    1. Thearpox says:

      “Insects generally don't have proper hearts and veins like BIG animals do.”

      They’re big insects.

      1. Paul Spooner says:

        There’s no way an insect’s circulatory system could support a creature that large, or with that power density. Maybe they just LOOK like insects, but are actually vertebrates of some sort.

        1. Bryan says:

          Squid can get pretty big and still be invertebrates. Not sure an endoskeleton is required for a circulatory system. :-)

          OK, OK, you meant “animals with a circulatory system” when you said “vertebrates”, OK, never mind… :-P

          1. Viktor says:

            Squid are aquatic. Buoyancy rules change the numbers, especially with extreme depths.

            1. Paul Spooner says:

              Give the man a Starchman star. Exactly what I was going to say. Water is a thousand times more dense than air. Ignore at your peril!

              1. Naota says:

                B-but… I need the stars.

              2. Trix2000 says:

                You know, I was JUST reading that comic…

        2. Daemian Lucifer says:

          Unless I remember it wrong(or misunderstand what I remember),isnt the reason that insects are small due to the low concentration of oxygen in the air?With more oxygen,they would grow to be pretty big.

          1. Thearpox says:

            Not THAT big.

            Maybe the size of a kitten. Not a big dog.

          2. Paul Spooner says:

            Seems like we could test this pretty easily.

          3. Eudyptes says:

            You’re pretty much spot-on. Insects use a tracheole system for air exchange. It’s a passive system, which is why their body size is so closely correlated with oxygen levels. Under high oxygen levels (like in the Permian) insects could get extremely large.


            1. Paul Spooner says:

              Right, but just so we’re clear, exposing ordinary insects to elevated oxygen levels won’t make them grow huge right? It’s just that larger species of insects can survive under high oxygen levels.

              I wonder how difficult it would be to genetically engineer giant insects and implant them with cybernetics to raise their oxygen levels, enabling them to survive in our current climate… or survive in the vacuum of space.

              1. Eudyptes says:

                That’s correct. There is a good 300 million years difference, so by the this point the size constraints are more genetic than physiologic. As awesome as it would be to see 1 meter long dragonflies, it won’t happen in our lifespan.

                As for the cybernetics idea, the tracheols are about 1 micron across. That’s one hell of an engineering challenge.

                1. Jeff says:

                  “As awesome as it would be to see 1 meter long dragonflies, it won't happen in our lifespan.”

                  You and I have very different definitions of “awesome”.

                  1. Eudyptes says:

                    Haha, fair enough.

                    Biology: the longer you’re in, the weirder you get.

  7. Dragmire says:

    That turret couldn’t aim at anything that wasn’t part of the tank! Who put that there!?

    1. ET says:

      It’s for shooting all the giant insects which infest the Indefenestrable’s hull, duh.

      1. syal says:

        It’s there to stop saboteurs from defenestrating it.

        1. Thearpox says:

          I love how the joke is going and going and going its rounds. I wonder if there will be any point when windows stop being a part of the discussion in this let’s play.

  8. lucky7 says:

    This was like watching a lethal version of Wipeout.

  9. The Rocketeer says:

    You guys are mean. What you don’t understand is that the most important thing, the single most important thing about being a mook, is believing that You’re gonna be the one.

    No matter how many guys dressed exactly like you the lone hero has just shredded in a tornado of horrific, flaming, skythe violence, you’re gonna be the one to bring him to his knees. No matter how many of the helicopters ahead of you were just shot down in seconds before they could even fire a single shot, you’re gonna follow that exact same flightpath and you’re gonna be the one to blow him sky high, once and for all. You might be a guy with a katana fighting Marlow Briggs mano-a-mano, or a bandit in hide armor shaking down the Dovahkiin, or a rent-a-cop levelling a pistol at Adam Jensen. The thing that separates a true mook from all the thugs, henchmen, and roughnecks out there is the absolute empowerment of total self-confidence that a born-and-made mook can maintain in the face of every possible contra-indication.

    And all of the ore mined, harvested, refined, and packed by the Indefenestrable is used to build, maintain, and fuel the Indefenestrable. Obviously. It’s the most efficient and environmentally-friendly method of ore extraction.

    1. Daemian Lucifer says:

      “You guys are mean. What you don't understand is that the most important thing, the single most important thing about being a mook, is believing that You're gonna be the one.”

      You have to want it!

  10. Hector says:

    Y’know what pisses me off in games?

    Well, not this one, because that was hilarious.

    When you spend an entire stage – or most of the game trying to avoid something, such as falling into a bottomless pit or whatever. Only to have the character deliberately do that in a cutscene and it turns out that the entire preceding portion of the game was entirely pointless and accomplished nothing.

    1. Tizzy says:

      Yep. Can’t argue with that one…

      By the way, anyone else had Metallica’s “jump in the fire” running in their head at that point, or is it just me?

    2. Daemian Lucifer says:

      Worse is when you have to slog trough a bunch of guy,with being returned to the checkpoint every time they overpower you,only to get captured in the cutscene.

    3. Dragomok says:

      Well, we had a scene like that when the, er, crew was doing Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 as a Spoiler Warning special. Josh was playing as a remotely controlled land drone, died and had to repeat the segment, only to find out that he died only a few meters from the point where the plot kills him anyway.

      And I heard that Siren Blood Curse had a very similar problem, too.

      1. Humanoid says:

        Chris was the player in those episodes for what it’s worth, and that only happen because Rutskarn’s computer melted. So as of that point, all of the hosts except Mumbles have now taken on the role of the player. *hint* *hint*

        That said, Shamus’ reign was characterised spectacular technical issues in both attempted games, so maybe it’s for the best.

        1. guy says:

          Wait, what was the game he attempted that wasn’t a conduit channeling Cyborg Satan?

          1. Humanoid says:

            The one where he was a conduit channeling Sloth at two frames a second.

  11. Paul Spooner says:

    “You’re either talking about a McDonald’s or…”
    A McDonald’s or what? A McDonald’s or here’s your own spaceship? McDonald’s or here’s a million bucks? I mean, what… Oh no!
    He killed it.

    Power to edit terrain is awesome! It means he can create infinite ore for them to mine! It all makes sense!

    Also, love the double-letter-box during the cutscenes.

    “Not all of this terribleness is a joke.”
    But how do you know that? I mean, it’s a joke to us. Do you mean it’s not meant as a joke? How could we tell? This is Marlow Briggs and the Poe’s Law of Doom! (feel free to use that one as an episode title)

    1. Dragomok says:

      It means he can create infinite ore for them to mine! It all makes sense!

      I’m glad I’m not the only one who immediately thought about that.

  12. krellen says:

    So, was that deliberate trolling on part of the crew, or are the Spoilers really not familiar with what is so obviously the inspiration for this James Hong-starring evil Chinese sorcerer?

    1. Joe Informatico says:

      David Lo Pan? You mean the David Lo Pan? The head of the Wing Kong Exchange?

  13. Clint Olson says:

    “The evil bad guy is a dick to him subordinates for no reason.”

    “Him subordinates” should presumably be “his subordinates”/

    1. Paul Spooner says:

      Hey, Shamus is a professional writer! Don’t tell his what to do!

  14. Carlos Castillo says:

    Funny that both Shamus and Rutskarn both bring up the lack of workers and extremely unsafe mining facility / vehicle.

    Shortly after you first enter the Indefenstrable 3, there is a P.A. announcement by the villain where he explicitly fires the maintenance and safety crew. He also asks that on their way out, they should attempt to make their working environments as unsafe as possible in an attempt to kill or slow down the intruder:

    Considering the effectiveness against Josh, it’s seems like a real viable strategy more villains need to do intentionally.

  15. nstll says:

    I like to think its called the Indefenestrable 3 because the other 2 had a fatal flaw of having a window that someone could get thrown out of which resulted in their destruction. Somehow. Kind of like the Death Star and exhaust pipes.

  16. hborrgg says:

    It looks as though you were supposed to rip the heads off those bugs, but they didn’t actually bother to animate that so Marlow Briggs just sort of pantomimes it and the bug cooperates by dying.

    1. syal says:

      Marlow gets his hand up next to their eyes, and their hearts give out in fear.

      Very weak hearts, those giant insects.

  17. Daemian Lucifer says:

    I surprised that none of you still recognize the evil chinese guy.I mean he was also in that famous american movie with one very famous american actor.Yes,now you recognize him.Of course,he was grandpa chen in RIPD.

    This comment dedicated to krellen.

    1. Humanoid says:

      Oh right, he was the Chinese guy who played the Japanese guy in that 5 second scene in that American movie about flying things.

  18. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Anyone else find it funny how Josh is the one drinking,yet everyone else is messing their words?


    1. syal says:

      Did they ever say Josh was the only one drinking?

      1. Daemian Lucifer says:

        Well Shamoose drinks only tea(though maybe he likes the long island ice tea as well?),Chris is too sophisticated for alcohol,and Rutskarn is under aged.

        1. syal says:

          Then I guess Josh is just drinking enough to give them second-hand intoxication.

        2. Ofermod says:

          There are sophisticated forms of alcohol. But you’re right, Chris isn’t really British enough for Gin & Tonics, nor Southern US enough for Mint Juleps…

          I actually see Chris as a Porter/Brown Ale kind of guy. Not sure why.

  19. Dragomok says:


    I haven’t even read the text description yet, but I felt the need to say that.

  20. Naota says:

    At this point I’m inclined to believe that the Indefenestrable 3 isn’t just a gigantic ore processing facility/helicopter bay and training course which scoops up tectonic plates’ worth of nonspecific “ore” to turn into fuel to grant it momentum. That would be too simple. It lacks for that certain… majesty… apparent in all things Marlow Briggs.

    No, it actually has the mines it extracts from inside of itself. Mines where mook labourers work day and night, taking extra shifts as mook guards just to make ends meet. Vast cubes of unfiltered strata from which vomit forth an unending continuum: winding ant columns of withered human figures in yellow hard hats. Every day the emaciated husks stagger home, barely sensate, to their rust-laden shanty towns; towns built – of course – on board the Indefenestrable. And every day they look up and wonder.


    1. Daemian Lucifer says:

      Now I cant stop thinking of zanak from doctor who as the ultimate version of indefenestrable.

      For those too lazy to check the link,zanak is a hollow planet with engines,that wraps itself around other planets,then strips them of all useful materials,and the shrinks them to the size of a beach ball and keeps them in stasis.Yes,really.Thats why old who trumps new who.

      1. Gruhunchously says:

        And it’s ostensibly run by a space pirate captain with a robot arm, a robot eye-patch, and a robot parrot on his shoulder. And he has a plank as well. It’s what happens when Douglas Adams starts script editing your show.

  21. Aaron says:

    i think spoiler warning needed this, a trip to what is really a bad game, too many good games would just ruin things

    1. Paul Spooner says:

      The beauty of this comment is that it’s impossible to tell whether you’re being extremely serious, or extremely sarcastic.

  22. Dork Angel says:

    If you listen to some of the comments he makes to his guards they are hilarious. A couple of episodes ago he say something along the lines of “Whoever wounds him can have a 50% discount on their gun rental charge”. Seriously, his mooks have to pay him for the equipment they use…

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