Tag Archive: Zahhab Region


3/30

Having given up on finding a crab in Osiris’ courtyard, at least for the moment, we turn our attention to the Chamber of the Gods, which is still teeming with cryptic critters. Oceana is with me — I’ve resigned myself to taking her along as my good luck charm — and it’s midnight, when I tend to find animals I missed during the daytime. As always, finding our way into the Echoing Terrace is an exhausting exercise, especially in the dark and after six months spent on dry land. But after arriving at the east hall, finding the first few fish is relatively easy and sedate.

First we find the prehistoric-looking frilled shark lounging in the corner pocket of the chamber, around D1.

Frilled shark

Rounding the corner and down the stairs into the Altar of Osiris, along the left wall I find the black pyramid butterflyfish and the too-tiny-to-photograph whitespotted boxfish.

Black pyramid butterflyfish

 Continuing west along the north hall, we run smack into a cave-in. Fortunately, amongst the rubble we find a trio of hot-pink painted frogfish, who look like their whispering about me.

Painted frogfish, conspiring

Next we execute that slick maneuver of descending through a trapdoor behind a statue of Horus, bypassing the Subterranean Reception Room with its many hungry spider crabs, and up through the ceiling into the Pillars of Shadow. Turning north here, we’re met with the impressive sight of the thickest concentration of Coelacanths ever witnessed. If, like me, you grew up fascinated by the discovery of this impossibly rare and ancient fish in the waters of the Black Sea, and assumed there were maybe one or two of them in existence, it’s mind-boggling to see so many packed in one place. All the more amazing that only one of these is the legendary coelacanth our Marine Encyclopedia says we need to find — we have to paw through the crowd, asking “Are you the one? What about you?”

But we’re just starting to mingle when some uninvited guests show up to spoil the party. I’m talking, of course, about that most unhandsome of elasmobranchs, the goblin shark. More specifically, a whole passel of ’em, marauding and striking every time we try to introduce ourselves to a docile coelacanth.

G-g-goblin shark!!

I whipped out my pulsar and started zapping like crazy, and just by accident happened to tag another legendary, the ferocious Okeanos’ Guardian. Unfortunately, I couldn’t keep my hands steady enough to get a clear photo of it.

Okeanos' Guardian, passing under my fins

 Eventually, I got the goblins subdued enough where I could quickly tag a few coelocanths, and eventually found the Living Fossil I was after. Yet I barely had a chance to line up a good photo op before the sharks attacked again en masse. In the middle of this, my “out of air” claxon went off. With no time left to swim out, we had to drop everything and beam back to the ship.

The Living Fossil

 For the first time since the height of the game, I was a relieved to find myself back on dry land. I suppose I should go back there to study the goblin sharks as part of my “Know Thine Enemy” series, but I wouldn’t say I’m in a rush.

7/13

We’re back again at the Cavern of the Gods, and this time we’re in it for the loot. First though, I stop by Mushroom Rock to get a good picture of Big Boeing the whale shark, at the request of mystery man ML. Then we turn on the mulitsensor and pick up everything we find (except the Pacifica Treasure in the Celestial Mausoleum—that’s off limits). There’s a lot to pick up: nearly every room in the temple has salvageable material in it, many yielding lucretive lightning bolts. The bag fills up super fast.

Then in the Celestial Mausoleum, something weird happens. One of the Commerson’s dolphins swims right up to me and starts shouting,  “Kee kyee kyee! Kyu! Kyu! You must make an offering to the lady! She requires two symbols of protection!”

"Kee! Kyee! Kyu!! Kyu!!!

Jean-Eric is flabbergasted by this, and recalls us back to the boat straightaway. In the pilothouse, he’s throwing his hands up and shaking his head in disbelief. “It’s impossible! Dolphins can’t talk! I mean, you’re a trustworthy fellow and all; I believe you, but…you must be crazy!”

“But boss,” Hayako puts in, “we all heard the voice on the transmitter. It’s got to be true!”

“And beside,” I wish I could say, “You believed in singing dragons, and moving islands, and magic balms and all kinds of other nonsense—why not talking dolphins?”

More hand throwing and head shaking.

“Hrmmm…I-I…just don’t know! Let’s all go back to Nineball Island and talk this out.”

Okay. Back on the island, another confab around the table.

“Two symbols of protection, huh? What could that mean? Well…let’s see what Nancy’s got.”

So the upshot of all this overheated drama is that we’ve got another animal companion to recruit, and it involves buying those Christmas gift boxes Nancy’s got in her catalog.

Meanwhile, our treasure haul was enormous, including an orichalcum ingot worth 13,000 P and a flask of Amrita ointment worth 11,000. Orichalcum, as  you armchair Platonists might know, is the mythical metal found only in the Lost Continent of Atlantis. Amrita ointment conveys immortality on the applicator.

In other news, ML was happy to get his whale photo, and in appreciation, gave us a new photography gizmo—the ability to develop pictures in Black and White! Because as everybody knows, underwater photography is much better in shades of grey.

What a weird day in EO!

5/4

Zahhab Region—After several less-than-exciting days on the game, I passed three milestones at once today: One hundred hours, three quarters of a million Pelagos, and twenty dolphin shows!

The day began, as always, with dolphin shows. First Pinky, then Frodo, then Lilly. Elena, Francisco and Jessica nearly fell out of the boat as my little divas performed sick combos to their complete satisfaction, then returned to report back to Finley.

Next, I went after a salvage request from GG’s foil, FF. He’s promised us this would be his last. Once again, our map scavanger had only a cartographic scrap to go by without a place to reference it. And once again, by doodling it on a piece of  notepaper and thumbing through the Marine Encyclopedia, I was able to pinpoint it without trouble, somewhere in the Zahhab Region. About five minutes later, we had the Platinum Sword in our hands.

Since I knew the payout on this put us past the three-quarters mark, and there was no deadline on the treasure (believe me, I double-checked), I decided to explore the Zahhab Region a bit more. GG and I visited the Chamber of the Gods for the first time since we left it, casing the joint out for our imminent return. There wasn’t much treasure to be found outside the entrance, but investigating a crack in the cavern ceiling, I discovered I could peer through it to the sea’s surface! Apparently, the long fissure that snakes down the Zahhab reefs is directly over the Chamber of the Gods. I don’t know if that’s useful knowledge, but it was fun to learn.

Peering through the fissure

Leaving the Chamber and its ponderous sentinels, we explored the Long Fissure from the top side, but it was too dark to see down into the cavern. We found riots of fish around the huge basket sponges south of the fissure and I stopped to pulse and photograph them.

Then I returned to the boat and set the clock ahead to take a midnight dive with Hayako. Climbing up from the Super Dropoff, our lights spotted what looked like a nest of sparkly eels with their heads poking out of the sand. Upon getting closer these proved to be some kind of finger-shaped soft corals. I couldn’t identify them, and Hayako was mute about what they were. Later, we came ashore to see dozens of sea turtles sprawled in the sand, but not laying eggs, as far as I could tell. I turned to ask Hayako what she thought they were doing. “What this place needs,” she said,  “is a party!”  Now yer talkin’!

What are those things?

I wanted to stay another day at Zahhab, but I was out of film, so I decided it was time to return to Nineball Island.  FF received his treasure gratefully, paid us 20,500 P and jet-skiied into the sunset without another word. And so the GG/FF feud/romance ends with a wimper. A word of advice to the Arika game developers working on EO 3: CLOSURE!!

Just before turning in, I decided to check my records. I found I’d completed 19 dolphin shows. I wonder if I tried just one more? I had Pha put on a show for Elena, and immediately after, we received a visit from Finley, who’s concluded that he trusts us now, so he let us know about a beluga in the arctic ocean. So that’s my answer: all your previous dolphin shows count toward the twenty, and it doesn’t matter if they say it was excellent or crap and Oceana jumps up and claps her hands or not. As long as you don’t totally mess up and the dolphin doesn’t physically attack the judge, a show is a show—it’s all good. I’m not the worst dolphin manager after all!

4/27

Nineball Island—The morning begins with dolphin shows. Did I tell you? After we found Pinky at the North Pole, Finley dropped by and challenged us to put on 20 “excellent” dolphin shows for “people of his choosing,” or train dolphins 100 times. If we do, he’ll tell me a secret. Though the prospect of Finley putting his greasy lips to my ear is not much of an inducement, I think this has something to do with getting a freshwater dolphin to open up that hidden part of the Cortica River, so I better go along with it.

There are probably more discussions on the GameFAQs message boards about dolphin shows and training than any other topic. Lots of good advice about levelling up and special tricks and Wii remote wrist techniques, and I’d be wise to pay attention. But it’s all occult science to me—I try to care, but I can’t. What I do: I feed them a couple of fish, set it on free training and go off to watch Ru Paul’s Drag Race or something, and pat their heads when it’s over. When it’s showtime, I just tell my girls to do their best and hope people like the show. I’m probably the worst stage mom in show business.

Anyway, I’ve done about 5 shows already, and it’s really hard to tell how they’re going to be received. Sometimes the dolphins really pour their heart into a performance, but the audience comes away unimpressed; sometimes they put on a mediocre show, but get rave reviews. I don’t know whether any of these shows are going to count toward the 20 I need or not—all I know is they pay, and that’s good enough for me.

After 2 dolphin shows, it’s time to go diving. I’ve got a request to find the Pirate Pottery in the Zahhab Region Depths, which coincides nicely with a photo request for an oarfish. I’ve finally learned to tell the difference between the north and south crevasses, so I can dive directly down there without having to wander through caves and cul-de-sacs. After I find the treasure, I leave the multisensor on and find a lot of stuff somebody’s missing.

Now for the oarfish—I wanted to shoot one on my last trip to the abyss, but even with Hayako’s help, I couldn’t find it. Trouble is, there’s a lot of vertical space up and down here, and it’s all a matter of finding the right depth. I finally spotted the oarfish writhing through the gloom at around 400 feet. My heart beating faster, I swam up beside it, turned and started shooting. Afterwards I goofed around with the Risso’s dolphin and provoked an encounter with a sixgill shark.  When my “out-of-air” warning alarm went off—first time that’s happened in a long while—I swam all the way to the surface. (Decompression is for wimps.)

Bluntnose sixgill

Risso's dolphin

When I returned to Nineball, I gave Jean-Eric my best shot of the oarfish, then went to bed and awaited the results. The editors at Maritime Weekly were very impressed, gave me an “A” and a cover! Now my work will be seen in harbormasters’ offices and marina waiting rooms the world over!

 Today was successful monetarily for me as well:

  • Dolphin shows: 5016 P
  • Fresh fish: 3000 P
  • Pirate Pottery: 1700 P
  • Misc. salvage: 25770 P
  • Photo: 3500 P
  • Day’s total: 38,986 P

My game total is now 669,779 P. I’m inching closer to the Chamber of the Gods.

4/24

Zahhab Region—I’ve decided to take seriously Jean-Eric’s requests for magazine photos. I’d been avoiding them after my “E” grade, but once I saw Waltmck’s YouTube video of  A&B winning shots (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nf8RPtXoeu8), I was emboldened to give it another try. The request with the most pressing deadline is for a barreleye, which, my marine encyclopedia shows, can be found in the depths of the Zahhab Region. I take Hayako with me, but despite her useful fish maps, I can’t find a single one.

Next I took Kaneko, who came to Nineball Island in open defiance of her overbearing architect father, to Zahhab to see some green sea turtles. It was almost too easy, so while we’re near the Twin Crevasses, I persuade her to follow me down to the depths. Of course, it’s highly irresponsible to take an inexperienced diver below 50 fathoms; I should have my PADI license revoked, but I gotta find that barreleye. Again I didn’t find one, but down in the narrow canyons I saw something emerging out of the gloom. Large but too misshapen to be a shark, it turned out to be a Risso’s dolphin. It was a welcome sight to find a fellow mammal down this deep. On our way back to the surface we found a few more new things: a common fangtooth, one of those all-mouth deepsea monsters that would be horrifying if it weren’t a little pipsqueak; and an oarfish—decidedly not a pipsqueak, but a long silver ribbonlike thing with a rooster’s comb that trails behind it for what seems like fifty feet.  We also met the giant squid rising vertically up the canyon wall, so we followed it up to 270 feet, where it turned around and returned to the depths. Emerging from the crevasse, we took the requisite gray whale ride, then headed west to the Coral Garden, where another new creature turned up at a fish feeding—the blue and yellow banded butterflyfish. Back at Nineball, Kaneko paid me 3610 P for the trip.

Hey you! I'm talkin' to you!

Next I went to northern Canada to photograph a harp seal. I threw out my worries and simply tried to fill the viewfinder with the animal and made sure it smiled pretty for the camera. The photo earned me a “C” and the magazine paid out 2000 P, twice their initial price. I’ll take that.

My first passing grade

Finally, I couldn’t resist taking one more trip to the Zahhab depths, this time with Bob, an olympic medalist using thrill therapy to deal with the aftermath of a terrifying ski jump accident. He wants to see a sea pig. These little Pokemon nightmares litter the sea floor around the Chimney Forest. We also take in the vampire squids, the popeye grenadiers, the splendid alphonsos. Bob was cured of his PTSD and paid me 3610 on the docks. And hey, I finally found my barreleyes—they were hiding in a closeup zone because they’re so small. I got as close as I could and took many pictures—all prizewinners.

Sea pig (file photo)

The only problem is that once I got home, I exited the game without developing the pictures and lost everything!

Blame it on rapture of the deep.

Special Thanks to Waltmck!

The Grave Keeper

4/1

Zahhab Region, noon—On our last visit to the Depths of Zahhab (the ill-fated Viking Treasure quest), we learned that that the giant isopod was Oceana’s all-time favorite creature. So today I return  to the dark confines of the Twin Caves with Oceana, whereupon finding two disgusting giant isopods, a cutscene ensues, revealing a third, even more disgusting isopod, a legendary creature called the Grave Keeper. Oceana is delighted: why isn’t it just the cuddly-wuddliest little thing you ever saw? We’re told that, like all giant isopods, the Grave Keeper, which is the size of a baby (nice image), feeds upon the pale, bloated carcasses of whales and other creatures that expire and land on the scrap heap of the seafloor—including, presumably, treasure hunters who set out in leaky submarines. You would think that, confronted with the knowledge that the Grave Keeper (c’mon, look at its name!) in all probability contains the body of her long-lost father—albeit in nutrient form—she would break down on the spot, but no, she thinks it’s adorable. Maybe she knows something I don’t. Or maybe she’s fully aware he’s dead and  bonding with the sea cockroach that ate her father is her way of somehow being closer to him, of gaining closure on her grief. Anyway, though we map the rest of the depths region, I tactfully keep her away from the Osiris’ Courtyard and the wreck of the HD-9.

Back at the surface, I trade Oceana for Lilly and finish mapping the open sea. Then on the way home, stop off  in Ciceros Strait to take a photo of the Cross Rift for our mystery man, ML.

On Nineball Island Oceana, out of gratitude (or maybe because I finished the Zahhab map), hands me 20,000 P.

Which brings my total to 337,949—1/3 of the way!

3/30

Zahhab Region, daybreak—I’m at Zahhab again, but without the drama of the last visit. A treasure request sends me in search of the Opal Telescope (don’t worry—I checked the expiration date this time: 8 days). The closeup map shows an insignificant little blip somewhere near the western coast line. It takes a while of comparing maps to find its probable location, but once I’m in the right area it’s easy enough to find.

Next I follow a rumor about a shadow seen near Mushroom Rock, somewhere north. Along the way I cruise the shoreline, finding those blue starfish I last saw on the turtle spawning expedition. But for some reason I can’t interact with them. I’ve been suprised and a little disappointed at the lack of starfish in this game, considering they’re such a staple of aquarium petting pools. I clearly remember preventing my then 2-year-old son from mutiliating one at the Mote Marine Laboratory in Sarasota.

With my eyes on the seafloor, I nearly crash into Mushroom Rock. The screen goes black for a second, and when it fades back I’m confronted with the maw of an immense whale shark. Seriously, this thing is the size of an airliner, and it carries its own ecosystem with it.

I follow it for awhile, letting it take me out to the open sea. I realize that I’ve only mapped about 25% of the Zahhab, and fully half of that consists of open water. Lots and lots of empty blue as far as the eye can see. Spooky. It reminds me of that kid in Moby Dick who falls overboard during a whalehunt and spends a whole day bobbing alone in the sea. When a rescue boat finally picks him up, his mind is gone. All that emptiness has fried his brain; he spends the rest of the book a catatonic idiot, unreachable and unresponsive.

Hey, speaking of Moby Dick, there’s the white whale himself, about 400 feet below me, just a ghost in the abyss. I also see a small group of marlin gliding by, way, way out there. I paddle around in the void as long as I can stand it, then head west. Somewhere near the continental shelf, I find something called the Caiman Relic, which I later learn is somehow connected to King Gigide in the Twilight Temple of the Amazon. I also find some beautiful rock outcroppings blooming with soft coral the colors of a New England autumn.

Back (reluctantly this time) at Nineball Island, I find an uncharacteristic tableau. Usually everybody’s standing on their own, staring off into the distance and thinking their own moody thoughts. Today, GG, Lil’ O, Hayako, I and even Nancy are all clustered around the little patio table, with papa Jean reading the paper to us like it’s Sunday morning after church.

“What are you reading, Cappy?”

“Well kids, it says here there’s a new skin cream that, if applied directly to the forehead, is supposed to have special healing powers.”

“Golly, maybe it could cure the world’s diseases!”

“Maybe it could raise awareness of the sacred magic of mother nature!”

“Maybe it could make us a buttload of money!”

“But Cappy, where can we find the organic ingredients to make this medicinal ointment?”

“Well, judging from this, I understand it’s derived from a special kelp that grows only in the northern portion of the Zahhab Region of the Red Sea.”

“Saaaay, didn’t we just come from there?”

And it looks like we’re going back again, but not today.

By the way, before Nancy leaves, she updates us on the mystery man who asked us for the photo of the orange sea slug. It seems that he can now remember his name…well, not quite his name, but his initials—M.L.

Hmm, now who do we know who has those same initials? I wonder… *

3/18

Taking a request from Oceana, we and a marine biologist named Matilde head out to the Zahhab  beaches to watch sea turtles lay their eggs. This has to be done at night, when the sh-sh-sharks are out. If you keep moving they don’t bother you much, but they can still take bite out of you from time to time. I fumbled with the pulsar gun as usual and lost a lot of air before I found some blue starfish, the clue to where you’re supposed to land. Watched a short cutscene of turtles dropping their little pingpong balls in the sand, then it’s back to Nineball for payday. It’s a good one this time: 2,000 P, plus a 10,000 P bonus! We’ll meet Matilde again when the turtle  eggs hatch.  After another quick trip to the private reef, I go back home and sleep until the next day, then run right out and check the telescope. Score! It’s a full moon day and I see something really weird off to horizon. It’s fuzzy, but it’s big and has four limbs, so it can’t be a whale. With Pha I head out to what I call Corner Pocket Island, and there…find… a very large, very cranky croc named “gatama gatawa.” A little disappointing, frankly—I was expecting a mososaur or something.  Click-click.

"You kids get off my yard!!"

Next I jet off to Tokyo to visit the aquarium, where I change the main tank around to a polar theme (Belugas—I love those guys!). I add a few new things to the small tanks and kick out the sea lions to put in emperor penguins in the land exhibit.  There ought to be lines around the block now, but no, Hayako tells me they want to see creatures from Valka Castle. What-ever! Then back to Nineball again to develop pictures and go to bed. Overall I spent more time on dry land today than I did in the water.