22 October, 2009

Pathologic - Infection


For those who may be curious, here is an example of a map with the infected districts marked off, which can be obtained daily for a fee, if you know who to talk to:

Red zones are infected, and the darkened gray zones are abandoned/quarantined. Each day, the previous day's infected zones become quarantined. Those zones are clean, but abandoned - as such, they attract marauders (muggers and arsonists) even in broad daylight. You can go in the houses, since they're unoccupied, and even loot the drawers, but expect to meet resistance in the form of cat burglars.

Clean and quarantined zones randomly(?) become infected zones each day, as the epidemic continues to spread.

As you should have seen before, major entries to infected zones are marked off by these effigy/scarecrows. You can also tell you've entered an infected zone when the air turns a sickly green (the air in quarantined zones is gold). Also, the music will turn sinister. And there will be bloody rags all over the ground. And you seriously can't miss the sources of infection spread around. Speaking of which...

Meet an unlucky infected person. Notice the entire body covered in leper rags, effectively robbing that person of their identity, but not preventing them from being a source of contamination. Infecteds seem to have a vested interest in chasing you down and infecting you, but lucky for you they're pretty slow, and thus of only minor threat. And don't even try killing them because, though they are infected, they are still innocent townsfolk, and harming them will count against your reputation, and quickly turn the guards against you (guards who, on the other hand, seem perfectly willing to kill any infected that cross their paths - especially those trying to escape into neighboring districts (by the way, the flamethrower guys incinerate infection without prejudice - you have been warned)).

Meet plague rat. Even more dangerous than infected humans. They are fast, and since they are small, very hard to hit. On the other hand, they're pesky rodents, so you can kill them with immunity - if you're up to it. Often the risk of taking a stab at an infected rat, giving it the chance to bite (and thus infect) you if you miss (or if you're too slow), is more dangerous than just running away from the pest. If you don't mind wasting a bullet, you can fire in its general direction, and it'll scurry off. Outside of infected zones, rats are not necessarily infected, but you're better safe than sorry.

Meet cloud of infection. They appear as flowing clouds of smoke, within which, if you look closely, you can see what appears to be faces twisted in torment. Touch one, and it will infect you. They appear in two varieties. The stationary kind usually camps out on the road and in the most inconvenient places. You cannot see it from afar; only when you approach it, within a few steps, will it become visible. Therefore, if you're moving fast, and not watching where you're going, it's entirely too easy to stumble into one before you know what hit you. Many times I've just barely managed to stop myself before crossing the brink and diving into an infectious cloud. After awhile, you start to anticipate where the clouds will show up, as they are fairly predictable.

There are also moving clouds of infection. They move in a straight line, and only for a relatively short distance before fading out. When they appear, they head straight for you, but as long as you keep moving, and see them coming so you can move out of their line of approach, they're not too tough to dodge. I can't guarantee that they won't attack you from behind though, including when you're standing still. It pays to be vigilant, and not to get lazy. Also, the more crowded the area, and the more obstacles in your path (especially other infected obstacles), the trickier it becomes to evade these clouds.

Later on, another form of mobile infection begins to stalk you, in the form of what appears to be a rusty brown angel-like figure. Like the moving clouds, they appear out of nowhere and disappear just as abruptly. But - they're faster, they stick around longer, and they will track you down like a homing missile. In short, they're largely unpredictable. Your best bet is to keep moving, and preferably not in a straight line. When in doubt, you can always duck into a nearby house or shop for shelter. When you come back out, the activity on the streets will be reset/shuffled. But be careful, many houses aren't safe.

Inside infected houses, there are no infected people (although there are people lying on the floor in pain, which you can try to help if you want), nor rats (with some possible exceptions). But there are infection clouds, and they move in a much more deliberate pattern than they do outside. I can't tell for sure whether they trace specific patterns through the house, or if they actually come after you (or perhaps a mixture of both), but in those cramped quarters - especially with desks and dressers and whatnot tossed about the place and in your way - they can be extremely difficult to evade.

Symptoms of infection vary, based on your immunity and level of infection, but include all sorts of disorienting effects, such as blurred motion, tunnel vision, variable distance perception, darkened vision, and the like. Plus, of course, health drain. Taking immunity boosters will help you fight the effects of the disease, but will not prevent you from becoming infected. Protective clothing, such as gloves, boots, and cloaks can help isolate from infection. Antibiotics can fight the disease and help keep it in its early stages when it is much less dangerous. Analgesics are available to help restore your health, especially when combined with bandages and bed rest. Vaccines are rare, but can help prevent infection for limited periods of time. The only known cure for infection is the rare children's Powder, which does terrible damage to health (but is worth it to purge the disease), and the Panacea, available in limited quantities. Your best bet is to avoid infection as much as possible, but if you do get infected, don't panic. Do your best to keep the disease at bay, until you can finally get yourself cured. Infection does not have to be the end.

No comments:

Post a Comment