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Yeah, yeah, so I already did a list of Virtue's Last Reward's moments. However, after my recent replay of the game, I looked back at the list, and realize that my previous list is, well, bad. Pretty bad, and not in line with my actual thoughts about the game. I ignored some of the game's best parts, which is probably because I wrote the list in April, and hadn't touched the game in awhile at that point in time. So, guess what? I'm redoing that list, and adding in another twenty slots. Why am I doing this? Because it's got the best story in any medium ever, and all the moments below deserve to be highlighted.
This list will contain moments of hilarity, sadness, pure confusion awe, and a couple of those little moments that just, pop out at you. The original ten I did will still be here, but they'll be in more appropriate forms (being better defined as opposed to "this spoiler"). In any case, there are tons of great moments coming up, and I hope you all enjoy my picks. Let's get to it!
30. K Has Fun Riding Zero Jr.
K's demeanor is mysterious. He can ally at times, and be trusted, but at one point he also betrays the others and escapes the facility by himself through the number nine door. Though, in this moment, all of that doesn't matter, because he gets on the bouncy ride with Zero Jr.'s likeness, and well, that image happens. Sigma and Alice are mortified by his display of childlike glee, and when you also think about who's actually under the mask...wow, that face must look hilarious.
29. Sigma, Alice, and Luna Talk With GOL-M
There are several times in the game where someone, or in this case, something, explains some sort of complex idea, which usually ends up being a major part of the plot. In this case, the GAULEM, who asks to be called "GOL-M", explains the idea of the Chinese room, which deals with communication between two people who don't speak the same language. It's an interesting conversation, and it's importance comes later in the game. This moment is also a nice introduction to the GAULEMS themselves.
28. The Various References
Virtue's Last Reward makes many references to various forms of pop culture. These include "gentlemanly points", referencing Professor Layton, Alice asking something about Dragonball, and the above image, which is a reference to the song "Wonderboy" by Tenacious D. Seeing them all just makes me happy that the localization team took the effort to do them.
27. Conversing With Everyone In The Beginning
Just after getting out of the elevator, Sigma and Phi meet up with everyone, except Clover and K, who emerge a few minutes later. Here, you get your first impressions of everyone, and also learn about the rules of the Nonary Game: Ambidex Edition. So yes this moment is important. It's also just the first of many large group talks.
26. Hitting A Lock
See all those branches? Well, some lead to locks, though none appear in the image. They involve points where maybe a certain person can't live unless Sigma knows something, but the knowledge comes from another timeline that the player hasn't done yet. Hitting them is so frustrating, because they act like a cliffhanger, but unlocking them afterward is so great.
25. Waking Up In The Elevator
Where the game starts. Sigma wakes up, wearing a bracelet that can kill him, and being forced to play the Nonary Game. This moment is great in itself because you know that you've got thirty hours ahead of wonderful storytelling, and great puzzles. Oh, and, of course, it's the first time you see Phi. Oh Phi...so awesome.
24. Clover Threatens To Kill Everyone
In one of the timelines, after discovering that Alice has been killed, Clover basically threatens to kill every person if no one confesses to killing her. This is, of course, a reference to the Axe Ending of 999, where Clover...er, loses it. This moment is tense, and if Sigma hasn't learned certain facts about the disease Radical-6 in a separate timeline, this moment ends in a lock, which is very dark, because, well, Clover just threatened to kill everyone. Not good.
23. Seeing Old Sigma For The First Time
Granted, this is at a point in the game where you don't know that Sigma is Zero, and just think that the hologram is well, Zero himself. Knowing that you're looking at Zero is just, weird in a sense, because you're going "but he's not one of the nine!", and just, well, it's weird. I don't know. And, considering he talks to you about termites...well, you're weirded out somewhat even more. :P
22. Phi And Sigma Hang In The Security Room
This moment exists in a dark time-after everyone has been killed, save Sigma, Phi, and, to their knowledge, Quark. They do the puzzle in the security room, and after opening the door, Phi manages to hack in and access some of the video footage. It shows some of the circumstances surrounding Luna's death, and it also is just a nice, long conversation between the two of them.
21. Sigma and Alice Talk About Math
Okay, not only about math. They talk about Alice's past with her father, Free the Soul, the Myrmidons, and Clover. It's a sad talk from Alice, hearing about finding her father dead, and dealing with other stress in her life. She also reveals her very, very impressive math skills, which become integral to solving the coded message of the Myrmidons. This moment was also a turning point for my view of Alice, because I thought of her as being sort of...snarky and such. But her story changed that, and it really shows how wonderful the characters and writing of the story of Virtue's Last Reward is.
20. Sigma Conquers Death
In the timeline with Sigma's ending, he manages to stop Alice from committing suicide. When that happens, his hand gets cut, and he bleeds white blood. This is because his arms are actually prosthetic limbs that have special tissue to make them look real and function the same. However, he doesn't know when it happened, and questions this heavily. At the end, Dio blackmails Sigma into allying and losing all his BP in order to get Quark the cure for Radical-6, which Dio stole. While Sigma is dying, he manages to get his hand crushed by the number nine door (WARNING: EXPLICIT LANGUAGE), which saves him from being injected with the tubocuraine.
19. Dio's Ending
One of the first endings achieved if you go from left to right, it's one that's sort of, er, memorable because, if I remember correctly, it's the only time you get out through the number nine door besides Phi's ending. Sigma lies to Clover about allying, after being convinced by Phi to betray her in order to escape with her and Dio, since Dio will leave no matter what. When they get outside, Dio attempts to send a message saying that he has completed his mission. Also, Phi changes her demeanor after having a jump from another timeline, which confuses Sigma, especially when Phi asks for the password for the number zero bomb.
18. Phi And Sigma Die Together
Technically, it's entirely possible to not see this moment at all, if you get all of the passwords in the other timelines, then Phi and Sigma can deactivate all four of Dio's bombs easily. However, if the player doesn't have one of the passwords yet, then the two of them will run out of time, and die together in the explosion, with Phi hugging Sigma and saying "thank you". It's not critical to the plot at all, but it's just, sad...
17. Phi Betrays Sigma
In the timeline with Phi's ending, Sigma and Phi end up against one another in the AB game. If Sigma chooses to ally, then Phi will betray him, because she experienced him betraying her in the other timeline. When Sigma betrays her, he doesn't really even understand why he does it-it just happened to him, really. But because that happened, it hurt Phi enough to betray Sigma and attempt to leave everyone behind.
16. End Or Beginning
After Akane shocks Sigma, his consciousness gets sent back to the present, and it's there he meets the younger Akane. He sees some of the aftermath of the Radical-6 outbreak, and also his robotic arms. There isn't anything really significant in this moment storywise, but you know at this point that Sigma is about to go start preparing the Nonary Game, and that the stage has been set for Sigma and Phi to try and prevent the outbreak at the Nevada Test Site.
15. K's Face
In K's ending, he, Sigma, and Phi all die from the tubocuraine. However, Sigma manages to use the key he got to take off K's mask...and Sigma sees his own face. Completely confused, Sigma questions everything about what he's seeing before falling unconscious from the Soporil. Getting to this point is just, well, awesome, because you now know what K looks like, but not why he looks like Sigma, or anything.
14. The Quantum Room
The last puzzle room of the game is unlike all the rest. It has you repeating several of the same puzzles from the past rooms, but with different patterns and such. The room is also completely white, and certain panels need to be touched in order for the puzzles to come out of the walls. And, it has the infamous dice minigame, and what makes it so hard is that the dice need to be perfectly positioned, with the colors being right, as well as their angle-even if the right number is on top, it needs to have the right sides facing outward. So yeah, it's a major pain.
13. Disabling All The Bombs
In the last timeline, after the detonator is started, everyone works quickly to try and disable the four bombs Dio has set up. After managing to disable all four, Phi and Sigma are relieved, and it's at this moment you realize everything is pretty much all in the clear. Dio's been stopped, everyone is cooperating, and things seem well. It's just something that doesn't really appear a lot in the game-moments where everyone is happy and working together.
12. Quark Attempts Suicide
Radical-6 has the nasty effect of making people eventually commit suicide. Quark is always the first to really be affected-he attempts to stab himself with a scalpel in the infirmary. His attempt is foiled, and the whole moment when he's writhing about and screaming is just, well, terrifying. It kinda loses its luster when it happens the second...and 6th time. But whatever.
11. Finding Everyone Dead
In this timeline, everyone had been, I believe, searching for Quark...again. Sigma searches awhile for him, but never finds him, and after searching everywhere he can, he's left with the infirmary. Going inside, he's met with everyone's bodies, as a result of Radical-6 causing them to commit suicide. 999 may have had more gore, but this scene, with everyone there...it's pretty gruesome. And, well, after finding them, Sigma slits his own throat as a result of Radical-6...
10. Luna Is Revealed To Be A GAULEM
Luna is the nicest person of all the participants, unless you count Quark, just because he's innocent. She turns out to actually be a robot run on artificial intelligence from the same computer as Zero Jr.. Sigma and Phi discover this when looking at the computer in the director's office, and seeing that she's still operational frightens them, since she was assumed dead.
9. Through The Number Nine Door
When everyone (sans Dio) gets through the number nine door, it's just...a wonderful moment. Everyone getting through, going up the elevator and you just wondering what truths are about to be unveiled.
8. Luna's Ending
After Sigma abandons Phi and chooses to stay behind after opening the number nine door, he goes and finds Luna, who is in the B garden. They talk for awhile, with Luna revealing info about some secrets, and also just, showing her hardships, especially that she broke a Law of Robotics, and how she had to deal with that. And, because of the tubocuraine injection, her artificial tissue begins to degrade, and falls off, and it's just sad to see it happen. Luna, you are awesome.
7. Sigma Reveals Dio Is A Myrmidon
The fact that this moment is a reference to Professor Layton and Ace Attorney makes it super awesome. But also, it's when Sigma reveals he knows about Dio being a Myrmidon, and that he planted the bombs. It's awesome because it's when it really becomes cemented that Dio is actually evil, and isn't just an a-hole.
6. Another Time
Yeah, the secret ending is pretty important. It has K, or Kyle, out of his suit, and walking around talking with everyone left. However, when talking with Phi, she questions how Kyle knows everything, because in that timeline, he'd been in cryo-sleep, and hadn't seen everything, and even Kyle doesn't know how he knows. He finally talks with Akane, and she infers that the person in Kyle's body is actually not Kyle-they just assumed that after looking in a mirror. It's inferred the person in Kyle's body is actually THE PLAYER, and that THEY will assist Phi and Sigma at the Nevada Test Site. Hell. Yes.
5. Quark's Letter
When Quark and Tenmyouji betray Sigma and escape through the number nine door, Quark leaves Sigma with a letter about their story. Of how Tenmyouji found and raised Quark, all by himself, and all the hardships they went through together. I was in tears reading the letter, and this fully cements Tenmyouji being one of my favorite characters ever.
4. WE'RE IN THE FUTURE, ON THE MOON
Oh God, things got real. Turns out, the world got screwed by Radical-6, reactors got blown up, humanity almost went extinct, and the facility is in a bunker on the moon. Great! Well, this explains a lot! Like all the weird diary entries, Radical-6, and the earth being red. Basically, things are messed up, and it's completely epic.
3. Zero Is Sigma. Wait What.
Yeah, some people saw it coming. I personally didn't. I had weird suspicions when it was shown that he had robotic arms, but I wasn't prepared for the fact that Sigma had jumped 45 years into the future into his older self's body. That's pretty messed up. Just, finding this out...gah, it's just, so weird and fascinating and awesome. All hail the man on the moon who rules the infinite time.
2. Tenmyouji is Junpei
The protagonist of 999 grew up to be Tenmyouji. He had to deal with losing Akane, surviving the Radical-6 outbreak and everything that came with, he raised Quark on his own, and just became a tired old man. The compassion he shows for Quark, and Akane, still, after 46 years...it's just, so sad, knowing what he's done. It's first hinted at when he's shown holding a picture of Akane as a young girl, but when Akane addresses him by his name..God. It's so powerful.
1. The Whole Purpose Of The Nonary Game
Yeah, everything is messed up, but just, finding out the whole concept that the game revolves around...is just, well, astounding. The whole point of the Nonary Game is to save six billion lives, instead of one, like in the original 999, by preventing the outbreak of Radical-6 at the Nevada Test Site. This moment sets up Zero Escape Volume III, even with the knowledge that Old Sigma and Phi failed in the past, and that the player will see the next attempt by them. Akane reveals this to Sigma and Phi, that the whole Nonary Game was made to enhance their own ability to slingshot their consciousness across timelines and time itself. All that jumping you, as the player, did? Sigma was actually doing it himself, though not on purpose. In any case, seeing this...gah, it's freaking awesome. Best. Game. Ever.
Well, that's it for this list of moments. Now, I'm probably going to go replay Virtue's Last Reward again, because the urge just keeps growing stronger.
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