Secret Files 3 Walkthrough

Secret Files 3 Walkthrough

If you're stuck on a puzzle, unable to find Max or haven't been able to reach any of the game's four possible endings, you'll find plenty of help here courtesy of Peter Olafson

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Secret Files 3

A Game Guide
by Peter Olafson

Version: This is version 1.0. It’s based on the UK edition.

Contact: Lingering questions? Mistakes? Something unclear? You can write to me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Copyright: This document is copyright 2012-13 by Peter Olafson. You may not post it, distribute it, edit it, excerpt it (except for "fair use" purposes in news coverage), sell it or publish it in any fashion without my prior written consent. At this time, the only site with permission to post the walkthrough is JustAdventure.com.


Introduction

We watch as a pair of robed figures -- at least one of them wearing a medallion like the ones associated with the Guardians in earlier Secret Files games -- hire a thief named Menis Ra to destroy scrolls in Alexandria’s great library.
 
The Wall

Getting up the library’s high wall is a straightforward affair: There’s one route with only minor variations. You’ll want to head up, slightly to the right and then all the way left into the palm fronds to reach the top of the wall at the left side of the parapet.  Click on the wall at the left to start and then use the cracks between the blocks to climb.

Here’s the blow-by-blow:

Up; up;  up; up and to the left (i.e. diagonally); up and to the right; right; up and to the right; up and to the left; up and to the right; up and to the left; up and to the left; left; left; up and to the left; and finally up and to the right twice to the “wall edge” at the top.

Odds & ends: The first three stages of the game are set during Rome’s civil war of 49 to 45 B.C. You’ll find some background on this particular stage of the conflict here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siege_of_Alexandria_(47_BC)
 
Outside the Library

Menis can’t approach the guard -- he needs to remain unseen -- but can operate safely in the shadows on the edges of the scene to decoy the guard into the stables.

Take the leather bag from the wall just left of Menis’s starting location, use it on the snake behind the containers in the foreground and finally use the bagged snake on the stable window right next to where the bag was hanging. The guard hears the distressed horses within and goes to investigate and Menis automatically enters the library.

The Library Proper

The door to the scrolls is over to the right, but Menis’s path across this big room is blocked by the two guards chatting in the middle. You’ll have to traverse it using the rafters above, which you can reach via a hotspot immediately up and right of Menis’s starting location.

The upper two of the four horizontal beams are either rotten (the one immediately to the right) or just creaky (the corresponding one on the right side of the room) and you’ll have to detour around them.

From your starting location, make your way down, right and then all the way up to the banner at the top of the room. (Take this; it’ll come in handy soon.) From here, head right again, then down the right side of the room to the second cross-beam, then right to the door.

You can’t open this without attracting the attention of the guards, but a window can be seen right above the door.

A new issue attaches here: The clank of the metal grappling hook would hardly go unnoticed in this quiet room. You must soften the impact. Use the linen banner from the top of the room on the hook either before or after you attach the rope, then the “silenced” hook on the window and you’re in.

And done, really, for all you need to do to start this historic fire is look at the clay pots in the cubbyholes in either of the two upper walls.

Menis can’t resist taking a peek at one first. He is puzzled. “By Ra, just some numbers and drawings,” he says. “What value could they possibly be?” [sic]

Here we’ll learn the guards are catching up to the intruder. Menis has to move quickly and now does so without further help from you.

The fire doesn’t burn everything. One of the amphora rolls into a crawl space and thence into the sewers.

The End of the World

Cut to the intro credits of heroine Nina Kalenkov arriving at a church at Finestère for her wedding to Max Gruber.

The event quickly acquires the sour tang of nightmare. The guests are missing, Max is little more than  mannequin -- indeed, he remains mannequin-like for much of this short and rather spiritless game -- and the ceremony evokes more of the Day of Judgment than joyous union. The church soon collapses in fire and ruin. And out of the fire blocking the exit walks a robed figure not dissimilar to the ones who hired Menis Ra. It promptly vanishes through the tapestry covering the opposite wall.

You’re meant to follow the figure.

You’ll find several ways to go about the details. (This doesn’t happen so much in the rest of the game.)

Take the mop against the wall to the right of the statue, use it on the flames at the far left or the adjacent “burning shelves” to set it on fire and then use the burning mop on the tapestry at the right to expose a bricked up door and an open window above it.

(Or wait a bit and consider your options. The mop has more than one use here.)

You might reach this window via the statue of St. Peter, but you can’t climb onto it without some prep work. You need a step up of some kind.

Look at the “mortar joint” in the wall to the left of the statue base. The mortar could be scratched out with something sharp.

And there a couple of sharp or sharp-ish somethings available: the hanger that comes with the robe just right of the second-to-last row of the pews and a nail in the column just right of the burning shelves over at the left.

The hanger will scratch out the mortar by itself. The embedded nail requires an extra step: Use the hanger on it. Either way, you’ll eventually turn “wall joint” into “wide wall joint.”

Wide enough for ... ?

Nothing immediately presents itself. But perhaps the right of the two fires over at the left hasn’t destroyed everything in its path.

There are three ways to put this fire out -- all involving the water in the baptismal font in the foreground. 

Fill the chalice at the font, or submerge the robe or mop in it, and then use chalice, robe or mop on the shelves. You can then liberate one largely undamaged board. This slots into the “wide wall joint” and, provided you have already destroyed the tapestry, Nina should now be able to climb onto the statue, kicking off the SF3’s first mini-game.

You’ll need to rock the statue left and right to build up enough momentum so it tilts far enough right for Nina to reach the open space above the door. Whether on the difficult or easy setting, the trick is timing: The instant the statue stops moving in one direction, you need to click on the icon for the other. Four or five such clicks (depending on the direction in which you click first) and Nina automatically climbs through the window, encounters the hooded figure and wakes just as she is engulfed by an incoming wall of fire. (This will be explained in good time.)

Odds & ends: Finistère is a real location -- the westernmost “department” in the French region of Britanny. Its name is derived from the Latin expression “finis terrae,” which means ”end of  the earth.”

At the end of the game, SF3 awards “achievements” for how you’ve conducted yourself en route. You can pick up the“Maverick” achievement here by using less-conventional methods to put out the fire and widen the wall joint.

Rock the statue without any mistakes -- i.e. each rock should move the statue farther than the one before it -- and you’ll earn “The Acrobat” achievement.

And mistakes or not, rock the statue on “difficult” and you’re on your way to the “Master” achievement. (You’ll have to complete each of the three mini-game sequences with difficult/easy options on “difficult” to secure this one.) 

Berlin Apartment

Nina’s barely awakened from this dream -- evidently not the only one she’s been having -- when armed men burst into the couple’s apartment and arrest Max as a terrorist. As he is led out, he’ll drop an odd reference to his planned honeymoon in Australia. When Nina’s subsequent efforts to learn which agency arrested Max prove unavailing, she makes that reference the focal point for her search.

There are two Australia reference points in the apartment: the big map above the dresser in the bedroom and the book in the backpack between the two sets of shelves on the right side of the kitchen/living room area. You just have to find a way to put them together.

Open the backpack in inventory with a right-click to get the book and then the book to discover it’s hollow, missing four chapters and contains four little red magnetic flags. (Not three, as Nina says.) You’ll also wind up with the loose Table of Contents page.

Hmm: four flags, four missing chapters. It’s an adventure game, so that coincidence has to mean something. Check the contents page and you’ll see each missing chapter deals with a city either in Australia or neighboring Tasmania: 3 (Adelaide), 7 (Brisbane), 10 Broome and 15 (Hobart). (The cities are always the same from game to game.)

Evidently map locations for your flags. Just move right (“Passage”) to reach the bedroom, right-click on the Australia map on the rear wall and plug in the flags in the close-up view. Adelaide is in South Australia, Brisbane in Queensland in the east, Broome in Western Australia and Hobart on the island of Tasmania off the southeast coast.

And that opens an unseen secret compartment in the floor beside the bed. Nina automatically retrieves a pair of keys -- one of them marked “Museum, office.” So it’s off to the museum -- last visited back in Secret Files: Tunguska.

Odds & ends: Note that the bible Max opens during the post-dream cut-scene is in German. (Secret Files 3 was developed and first released in Germany.)

As far as I can tell, the Australia book isn’t a real one.

Naturkunde Museum
(Museum of Natural History)

One of the keys unlocks the drawer beneath the radio over at the left. Take the map of Urfa (in southeastern Turkey), photos of the dig at Potbelly Hill and a book about the temple complex therein to expose what appears to be a code: 0504.

(However, if you’re replaying the scene, you can skip this step. You just have to know the code; you don’t have to actually find it.) 

There’s no obvious place to use it. But that picture on the back wall isn’t as simple as it appears at a distance. Examine it. The crack in the middle and metal rails in back suggest it can be opened.

What’s the trick? Well, note that the picture shows a volcano and a stormy sea. Perhaps you just need to simulate its three elements: sea, wind, volcano. The usable gadgets around the office just happen to include a lava lamp (atop the fridge), an aquarium (above the radio) and air conditioner.

Turn on both the lamp and the aquarium light with left-clicks. That takes care of the sea and the volcano, but what about the wind? The “air conditioner” (actually a heating/cooling unit) seems to run only on automatic and Nina can’t just turn it on in the conventional fashion.

You’ll need to make the sensor think it’s colder than it actually is in here to whip up a warm wind -- perhaps via something cooled off in that little fridge at the right.

Take the out-of-place stucco tool atop the boxes at the bottom of the bookcase to the left of the painting and use it on the fridge to freeze it. When Nina automatically retrieves it, use the cool tool on the air conditioner. The painting slides back to reveal a cache of documents, including pictures of a familiar image (a flashback to Secret Files 2 here) and a cell phone.

Right-click on the cell in inventory and plug in the 0504 code from the desk drawer, hit “OK” at the lower-right and you’ll be able to access a voicemail from Max’s colleague Emre Dardoğan.

Emre is anxious to tell Max about a new discovery. But he’s in trouble -- ostensibly over alleged illegal overseas sales of finds from the Potbelly Hill site -- and suspects Max might be as well. Nina then links Max’s arrest to events in Turkey and takes off for Urfa.

One other thing: She’s being watched.

Odds & ends: This is a real museum. (http://www.naturkundemuseum-berlin.de/institution/ueber-uns/)

If the picture doesn’t open, you’ve either omitted a step or turned on something else in additional to the three gadgets mentioned. Make sure the desk lamp, the solar-system model below the air conditioner and the radio are all turned off.
 
“Saçmalık” is Turkish for “nonsense.”

So what does the second key from the secret compartment open? There are an awful lot of items here that never find a use in the game. Was the design for Secret Files 3 more expansive at some stage of its development?

Potbelly Hill

The action picks up again with up with Nina’s arrival at the dig. Move right from the parking area. You’ll quickly come upon two metal  shacks that apparently served as the administrative offices.

The exit to the dig proper is at the rear, but Nina won’t head that way without a map. To get one, she’ll have to contact Emre. And Nina doesn’t have his number.

Right-clicks on the shack windows establish the place has already been ransacked. But the floor of the right-hand shack is covered in paper and there’s a gap beneath the door. Perhaps Nina could extract some of the paper with the right item.

Thank god for adventure-game trash cans. There’s one to the left of the left shack. Dig into it and Nina comes up with a bicycle spoke. Use this in the gap under the door of the right shack and she’ll come up with nine pieces of a fax from Emre to Max. Right-click on “Shreds of paper” in inventory to try to piece them together in another mini-game. The upright piece in the upper-left corner is fixed in place. You just have to assemble the other eight around it with the usual rotations -- dragging the pieces onto the rotation icon at top-center.

The fax reports the find to which Emre alluded in his cell message: The temple was not lost to the sands of time or natural catastrophe, but buried on purpose.

Implication: There was something wrong with this place.

And it includes Emre’s cell number. Use the intact document on the cell to call him and discover that the tremor Nina felt upon her arrival has trapped Max’s colleague in the underground portion of the ruin. He can be reached only by elevator.

Of course, the elevator is locked and of course Emre has the key. You’ll have to drill a hole so he can pass it up to you, and, of course, you don’t know where he is.

But Emre’s given Nina a leg-up on finding him. Our girl automatically retrieves a map from his car. You can then right-click on the cell phone to view the MMS (Multimedia Messaging Service) video of the room in which Emre is trapped and find in inventory six hints about his location. You can drag and drop these onto locations at the five sections of the site to determine the best place to drill.

It’s  “E” -- the only section of the dig site with three connections to Emre’s room. The others? Simply use the “tree roots” video on the big tree, the “smell of oil” one on the oil pool and the “engine sounds” one on the pump beside it. Even if you haven’t explored the other sections of the site, Nina says this is the only one that seems logical.

Back out of the scene and move to site “D.” There’s the rock drill. Left-click on it and, despite Nina’s crack about not carrying it around with her, you’ll find you now have a “Rock drill” icon in inventory.

Back at “E,” use this icon on the rock slab in the middle of the scene and Nina promptly retrieves the machine and drills a narrow hole that enables her to talk to Emre ... but, alas, not to receive the key to the elevator at site “C.”

You need a way to pass an item between the two. Backpedal to the dig parking lot and take the chain between the two concrete pyramids over at the right. (You can take this earlier. I just  bristle at the whole claim-everything-that-isn’t-bolted-to-the-floor mentality.)

Back at “E,” lower this chain down the hole and the key is yours. Use this on the elevator at “C” to descend into the ruin. At the bottom, make your way down the tunnel to the left to discover that the tremor collapsed a bridge leading to Emre.

Nina is critically short on bridge-repair material just now, but maybe it’s not necessary: A crevice can be seen in the cavern ceiling above the middle of the bridge and you can work from the top down. 

The first step is to find the surface outlet of this crevice. That’s not going to happen until you can mark the location from below in some distinctive fashion.

The pressure cleaner in the tunnel seems a reliable delivery method for such a marker and the red clay in the background of site “B” would certainly stand out.

But they don’t go together just yet. Try to use the “clod of dirt” on the pressure gun and Nina says there’s no way to put it in.

That’s one of a couple of issues at work here and they can all be fixed with the contents of the locked wooden crate at the bottom of the elevator shaft.

No key for this box. You’ll have to smash it open.

You may not have realized that you can operate the elevator without a passenger. Push the button to send it back to the surface, place the box in the empty shaft, push the button again to bring the lift back down and one last time to send it up again give Nina access to the debris: hammer, wrench and an empty plastic bottle.

Use the wrench on the pressure gun to disconnect it from the hose, beat on the dirt clod with the hammer to reduce it to a “fine, red sand,” use the sand on the gun in inventory, reconnect the gun to the hose, place the hose in the crevice and activate the high-pressure cleaner with a left-click. Nina then automatically pulls the trigger on the gun.

Return to the surface and check out site “D” to find a red marker on the central stone slab. Now, what do you do with this info?

Think Tarzan. The chain is your vine.  You just need to hang it from a cross-bar (the hammer) in inventory before you drop it down the crevice. With the chain thus suspended, return to the tunnel and click on the chain.

Cut-scene: Nina swings across, Emre pulls her to safety on the far side and then takes over the story for a bit.

The gist: Max found radioactive isotopes at the site, thought this related to the fate of this lost civilization and, when his theory did not receive a happy reception, invested all his energy (without success) in finding new radiation samples.

Here Nina is thrown off by the familiar icon in the upper wall -- kind of a goof-up, since she saw this earlier in the MMS transmission -- and we’re thrust into a stand-alone puzzle to open a gate in the upper wall.

Have Nina stand on the leftmost slab in the lower row to expose the core of the puzzle and then inspect the drawings of animals around the edge. As Emre said, a number of them are “off.” In fact, they’re off in a progressive fashion. Just in Nina’s row there’s a ox with one horn and a tiger with two tails and in the column above her an ibis with three wings.

This should give you some ideas: The numbers of oddities are in sequence, from one up to eight, and to solve the puzzle you must simply step on the slabs at the center of the puzzle in that same sequence -- alternating between Nina for odd-numbered oddities and Emre for even. (Remember to switch between the portraits at top-center before every move except the first. It’s all too easy to omit this step.)

Have Nina first step on the ox in the lower left corner, then Emre on the tiger in the upper right, then Nina on the ibis (one square up), then Emre on the fox (one square down), then Nina on the wild boar (one square right), then Emre on the lizard (one square down), then Nina on the dragonfly (diagonally up and to the left) and finally Emre on the grasshopper (one square left).

The gate opens, the two enter and we find them looking down into a cistern with an unseen-something glowing at the bottom. Emre now needs to lower a Geiger counter into the pool to obtain measurements. Use his knife on the roots at his feet, then the roots on the Geiger counter and then the counter + roots on the cistern.

The measurements secured, the two clear out of the ruins just ahead of their pursuers -- an academic question: How does Emre know the pursuers are in-bound? -- but they’re overtaken on a mountain road, Emre is shot and the car goes off a cliff. Nina regains consciousness to find herself alone in the wreck.

Odds & ends: Potbelly Hill is a real location. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/G%C3%B6bekli_Tepe

The bottle in the wooden box and the construction helmet to the right of the elevator have no meaningful role in the game. You can fill the bottle with water (and try to fill the helmet) using the puddle in the foreground of site “C,” but the water never finds a use at the site and the bottle vanishes at the start of the next sequence. (I’ve seen a reference in another walkthrough to using the water on the red sand, but that wasn’t an option in my game.)

The designers seem to forget the Potbelly Hill site later in the game and it’s never fully linked into the larger story. Beyond Nina’s joking guess at “Neanderthal nuclear war,” there’s no speculation about how the site became radioactive.  

It’s never made clear in the game proper what becomes of Emre. But watch the full epilogue after you finish the game!

Crash Site

Turn on the lights -- the switch is between Nina’s hands -- and then tip back the sunshade beside her right hand (at the left in this upside-down position) and take the comb and “parking disc” within.

Use the pointy comb to pick the basic lock on the glove compartment and take the folding ruler.

Finally, use the ruler to drag in the initially-out-of-reach lunch box and open it in inventory to find a sandwich, fork and a bread knife. (Any idea how long it would take to cut through a seat belt with a bread knife?) Use this knife on the safety belt (which appears over Nina’s neck) and she’s free.

Take the metal box from the rear of the car, open it in inventory with a right-click and look at both “Emre’s notes” -- odd; before the crash, Emre referred to these as Max’s notes -- and the laptop.

The former deals in lost civilizations constructed in circles. The latter is nonfunctional except for email: the third icon from the left at the top of the display. Nina zeros in on a message from a “Cicero63” -- Michael Anderson, a restorer at the San Francisco Palace of Fine Arts -- that offers an answer on the lost civilizations and refers to a “Cassandra” who “has made a discovery that will change the world.”

Max was to meet with Anderson two days hence. SF is your next real-world destination.

But first, Nina’s going to have another dream as she dozes on the plane.

Odds & ends: The parking disc and the other items in the lunch box have no use in the game.

Note that the pilot of Nina’s plane is identified as Chesley B. Sullenberger -- the pilot who ditched disabled US Airways flight 1549 in the Hudson River without loss of life on Jan. 15, 2009. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chesley_Sullenberger)

Florence

Here the game shifts gears back to the amphora from the intro. It seems it was discovered in a dry riverbed outside Alexandria and has now surfaced in Italy. An Arabian merchant named An-Nasir has made arrangements for its sale to an as-yet unidentified buyer in the Italian city of Florence, but is captured by mercenaries before he can complete it. Nina must free An-Nasir and then follow him to find the container. 

You’ll need some tools to get started -- at a minimum, a cutting edge of some kind -- and you’re not going to find anything suitable outside An-Nasir’s prison at this time. But maybe that sword on the statue back in the marketplace?

As in the dream back in the chapel, you’ll have to do a bit of prep work to create a path to a statue.

Retreat downscreen, remove the wedge from beneath the left wheel of the little cart at the right and then climb onto the wooden ledge above its new location and take some salt from the sack here. (Once the wedge is gone, you can do all this by clicking directly on the sack.)

Climb back down (by clicking on the cart) and use the salt on the frozen wooden wheel on the structure. Turn the freed-up wheel to lower the lift above and create a bridge between the platform where you found the salt and the balcony at the left. Now simply click on the balcony and, once Nina reappears there, take the sword.

Oddly sharp for a mere ornament, this has a couple of uses. Back on the ground, use it on the netting that covers the cargo at the left rear. The containers are empty but the netting will serve as a ladder up to the prison roof. 

And back down the “wide alleyway” to the left, cut the cord binding the stacked barrels to the right of the prison. They’ll roll against the window at the left side of the jail, breaking it. A guard will come out to investigate and Nina will automatically enter the building. (From here on in, you’ll be able to get in or out without any trouble.)

Follow the interrogation and the conversation outside the cell afterward. Note the reference to the “cloaked freaks” who are employing the soldiers and the cloth that’s been placed over the broken window. And take the “torture devices” from the shelf just right of the cell door. You’ll wind up with three: iron mask, poker and mouth spreader.

The next step is to put the two remaining guards out of commission. They’re sensitive to the cold. Outside, use the sword or poker on the cloth covering the broken window. This makes the soldiers chilly again and they’ll light a fire.

You can capitalize on this event by dropping a narcotic plant down the chimney and into the flames. To judge from the shingle, the little locked shop across the way sells “spices, mushrooms and herbs.” Use the mouth spreader on the shop to open a narrow gap in the cover and Nina automatically extracts samples of henbane, lavender and camomile.

You already have the means to reach the roof, but not to climb the slippery slope to the chimney. To manage that, you’ll have to cobble together a grappling hook. The spur on the poker will serve as the hook, but you’ll still need some rope.

There’s a clothesline above the street. You’ll need to climb to roof-level to cut it. Use the netting from the cargo back in the marketplace on the hooks at roof’s edge to the left of the prison door, click on the roof to climb up, use the sword to cut the line anchored above the prison door and descend again.

Now, cut the fallen line again just where it passes behind the spice shop and combine this with the poker in inventory. Back up on the roof, use this “poker with clothes line” on the chimney, click on the chimney to reach the peak of the roof and use the henbane on the chimney. (The other items liberated from the shop have no meaningful use save as wrong answers.)

Descend to the edge of the roof, left-click on the clothesline to take and disassemble the grappling hook and descend to the ground again.

Back in the prison, you’ll find the guards unconscious. They don’t have the cell key, but a look at the cell door suggests Nina might be able to just lift it off its hinges with the right gear. Place the wedge that you took from the wagon wheel back in the marketplace into the small recess in front of the door and use the poker on the door and you’ll be able to visit with poor An-Nasir.

He appears to be sleeping. You need to draw his attention to the open door but are not permitted to interact with him directly.

Take the bucket in the cell’s right corner, leave the prison and fill the bucket with snow. (You’ll find this to the right of the prison door, beneath the netting and in the left near corner.) Return to the prison, where the fire’s heat automatically melts the snow, and throw the water on the prisoner.

He’ll leave the prison and head left down the “narrow alley” to the left. By the time Nina reaches the next screen, An-Nasir is nowhere to be found.

Nina then wishes that this was one of those dreams in which you can turn back time, and it becomes one: You’re back in the cell with the water bucket at a point just before you awakened the prisoner. This time, you’ll have to set up a way to track An-Nasir’s movements on that second screen.

In fact, you’ll have to do this four times in a row -- using scent, reducing An-Nasir’s speed and finally resorting to basic forensics.

The first one pretty much has to involve that starving little cat sitting in front of the foundation in the marketplace. (This is the only element in the accessible area that Nina hasn’t yet found a way to exploit.)

Food is a typical path a critter’s heart in adventure games, but the leftover salt and the trash you’ll find in the alley left of the prison (potato and cabbage) doesn’t appeal to the cat. (Not surprisingly, the garbage never finds a use.) 

But you can generate something new. In that same stretch of alley is a sign forbidding street musicians to perform here after dark and, above it, a sign for a fish-seller. Use the cell phone on the no-busking sign and the fish seller, rudely awakened by the ringtone, dumps a load of fish guts out the window. Take the guts and place them inside the iron mask and, back at the marketplace, use the mask on the hungry kitty.

Get back to An-Nasir, use the remaining fish guts on him -- the kitty needs something to track -- and then use the water bucket on the prisoner again.

Once again, he’s out of sight by the time Nina reaches the “narrow alley,” but this time you’re ready. Use the iron mask on any of the three exits and the kitty picks up the trail and forges straight ahead through the middle one. Follow the cat to learn that An-Nasir has discovered and dumped the fish guts and that, once again, you’ve lost track of him. Time rewinds and you’re back in the cell again.

As with the “narrow alley,” the solution is found in this new stretch of An-Nasir’s escape route. There’s a low-lying area (“hollow”) in the section before the L-shaped alley turns left. Fill this with water from your bucket and the hollow will quickly ice-over.  Return to the prison exterior, refill your bucket with snow, reenter the cell and splash An-Nasir.

Since you now know the proper path, there’s no need to deal with the cat this time. The scene cuts directly to the L-shaped alley -- with An-Nasir slowed up just enough by the ice for Nina to see him ducking into the first archway on the right. This leads to a courtyard with three gates and no obvious clues about how best to proceed. Time rewinds again and you’re back in the cell.

This time, you won’t have to watch your quarry. Placed on the gate handles, the ash from the pan beneath the prison fireplace will reveal which one An-Nasir uses.  Use this on any of the three to place it on all, return to the cell to splash An-Nasir, return to the courtyard, right-click on “fingerprints” on the left gate and then use that exit. 

Another empty street with three more exits. “Sh*t,” says Nina. “Again?”

Just one more time. After time rewinds, backtrack to this new scene: a bridge over a frozen canal with exits straight ahead and at the left and right. One unusual feature: There’s a lot of snow on the little roof (“porch”) above the central exit. If knocked down onto the intersection through which An-Nasir must pass, he’d leave footprints.

You’ll have to be up at roof level to do this and the netting from prison won’t get you there.

But did you notice the ladder in the L-shaped alley on the far side of the courtyard? Take the ladder, use it on the porch, then left-click on the porch and you’ll brush away the snow. Make the trek back to douse An-Nasir and Nina will then reappear at the bridge. Right-click on the snow below the porch to discover her quarry has exited to the right.

Follow him to discover he’s reached his goal. An-Nasir receives his payment and moves through the archway to the right and out of the story. (Like most lesser characters, he’ll turn up again in the epilogue.)

Leonardo’s Workshop

Nina reappears inside a workshop and listens in on a discussion between Leonardo Da Vinci and his assistant. Here we learn the scroll contains the Greek scholar Archimedes’s solution to an unspecified mathematical problem and that Da Vinci has hidden a clue to its location in a cylinder. (The empty amphora can be seen in the foreground.) It stands to reason this cylinder is somehow tied up with the one complex gadget in (dim) view -- the giant shadowy scale at the far end of the room.

Your first step should be to throw some light on the matter. There’s a headlight on the right side of the cart. You just need a lighter and there’s one here (though not clearly labeled). Take the “tool” from the dish in the left foreground and use it on the headlight.

Much better.

The scale is currently locked in position. The end of the accessible right arm has a hole that might serve as the release, but neither sword nor poker (along with the cell phone the only carried-over inventory items from earlier stages of the dream) will do here and nothing else currently visible in this cluttered room fits into the gap.

It may take you a while to realize that, even with the headlamp lit, the upper reaches and left side of the far end of the room are still in darkness and that the lamp needs to be redirected. You can’t move the lamp indendently, but you can adjust the cart itself. Just take the jack to the right, use it on the cart and right-click on the scale’s raised left arm for Nina to report that the cylinder must be in the box on this platform.

When you raise the angle of the beam, you’ll also bring a new hotspot to light: a set of chisels to the left of the scale. Take these. One fits into the hole on the right-arm and lowers the left to bring the box within reach. Click on the lowered arm to claim the cylinder and right-click on it in inventory to launch the unlocking puzzle: five lettered wheels that must be rotated (using the central button on each wheel) to spell out a password.

Nina says this gadget spells out the names of cities,  but that’s a misdirect. It’s supposed to spell out “Verrocchio” -- Da Vinci’s teacher. (You can get the name from the “master craftsman diploma” over the door to the left, but this isn’t necessary to the puzzle.)  The “VER” on the leftmost wheel and “CHI” on the second wheel from the right are already in place in the brackets when you start, so you just have to push the button on the second wheel from the left five times, the one on the middle wheel once and the one of the rightmost wheel four times to rotate the missing letters into place and complete the puzzle.    

Here the doorbell rings and Da Vinci returns to the workshop en route to the front door. (How he fails to notice the illuminated headlight and the scale’s newly-lowered left arm, I’m sure I don’t know.) It’s Lorenzo de’ Medici collecting a picture he commissioned from Da Vinci. After some pleasantries they head off to Medici’s villa for a glass of wine.

Did this encounter seem insignificant?

It won’t in a moment.

The diary page in the cylinder uses “cryptic symbols” that Nina can’t decipher. Is there a key somewhere?

Naturally; no one ever just keeps stuff in their head in adventure games. The walking stick behind the vase to the right of the door turns out to be liberally coated with reverse-images of these same symbols -- use the stick on the diary page for confirmation -- but that’s an awkward format for translation.

Happily, you can transcribe the symbols into a more friendly medium by taking the pot of red paint -- a little hard to spot, it’s on the table to the left of the blank canvas at the rear -- and using the paint on the stick in inventory and finally using the stick on the canvas.

Then simply use the diary page on the canvas and Nina comes up with the translation “Greek safely concealed in the painting of ‘The Magnificent.’ ” Take the book on the little table to the left of the door and use it on the diary page (not the canvas) to identify “The Magnificent” as Lorenzo de’ Medici.

In other words, the Archimedes scroll just walked out the door. Nina has no sooner determined to go after it than the room begins to break down in fiery fashion as Guardians appear. This dream is over!

Odds & ends: You can learn more about Verrocchio here (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andrea_del_Verrocchio), Medici here (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lorenzo_de%27_Medici) and the Madonna Benois here (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Madonna_Benois).

Strictly speaking, the translation should actually read “for the Magnificent.” It’s not a Medici portrait; the painting is commonly known as “The Madonna and Child with Flowers.”

San Francisco

Nina arrives at the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco’s Presidio to discover the museum has been closed down by a fire. An automatic conversation with the police officer in the parked CHP car establishes that the restorer Anderson is missing and that the museum’s paintings are safe in the cellar archive.

You’ll need to distract the officer to approach the building.

It’s not that difficult. An (optional) conversation with the operator of the kiosk over to the right will establish that he’s not permitted to sell alcoholic beverages. But you can make it look as though he is selling them and then rat him out.

Simply take the empty bottle from the gutter, the Time magazine beside the bench and the piece of glass near the left of the kiosk’s two displays and buy an iced tea at the kiosk via the “I would like something to drink” topic.

In inventory, use the iced tea on the bottle and the glass on the magazine to cut out a whiskey label. Wet the label in the puddle in the gutter, apply it to the bottle and use the faux whiskey on either of the kiosk’s displays to sneak it into position.

Finally, talk to the police officer -- first about “May I ask you something about buying alcohol?” and then “Report a violation of the ban on selling alcohol.” He’ll head for the kiosk (which is quickly closed down) and Nina’s free to head for the museum.

You can march right in through the front doors, but you’re only going to get so far before you’re stopped by the building’s lack of power.

An emergency generator can be found outside, but you’ll have to loot the police car’s trunk of its bolt cutter and diesel fuel -- easy enough with the officer still dealing with the kiosk -- and search the museum for an appropriate spout in order to fire it up.

Inside, head upstairs to the mezzanine and then right and out the window. Edge along the ledge to the burned window around the corner to the right.

In this fire-damaged office, take the watering can over to the left -- there’s your spout -- and the eyeglass frames in the foreground. Use the frames to pick the lock on the desk drawer to extract the archive keycard.

In inventory, pour the diesel fuel into the watering can and, back outside (returning as you came), fuel up the generator with the watering can and left-click on it to start up the power. Reenter the museum, head downstairs and use your keycard on the door. (It will now remain unlocked for the duration.)

The room beyond is oppressively dark. Nina won’t enter until it’s lit.

That’s easily done. Back at the foot of the stairs, open the fuse box with a right-click. You’ll see there are two circuits here -- “lights” (currently off) and “power” (currently on). (The latter supplies electricity to the sockets and also hardwired units like the keycard door.)

Throw the top switch to turn on the lights and try the keycard room again. Light ... and the entrance to cellar archive. Nina balks at entering the storage area -- citing the daunting task of trying to find the Madonna Benois needle in the archive haystack -- and suggests there must be an easier way.

Presumably this involves the X-ray machine and computer over to the right. Of course, they operate on the “power” circuit, you’re currently running the lights and if you just switch back over you’ll be in the dark again. So what Nina needs here is some kind of socketed light source that would light the room when the lights circuit is off.

Take the lamp from the middle of the shelves over at the left and plug this into the floor-level socket between the crates to the right of the archive door. Get back to the fuse box, turn on the lower switch and return through the darkened (but not entirely dark) keycard room to the computer. Turn it on with a left-click and right-click on the screen to interact with it.

You don’t type anything in here. The “Artist,” “Title” and “Year” headings are all hotspots. Activate each in turn and select from the menus “Da Vinci,” “Madonna Benois” and “1477.”

Despite utter unfamiliarity with the archive, Nina then automatically retrieves the painting.

Place this in the X-ray machine. What appears to be binary code starts scrolling up the computer screen and there follows a cut-scene (another of Nina’s dreams -- this one noninteractive) of Archimedes and his king -- the scholar discussing first the basic uses and then the vast implications of “pi”: a “key to eternity” that will enable those who grasp its intricacies to “gaze upon the faces of the gods.”

Nina then gets a message through the PC from an unnamed ally. The voice, distorted to prevent identification, reports that restorer Anderson has vanished like Max. (And that Nina would have vanished as well, had this person not stepped in.) They’re to meet, but where? The only hint is “QR” (for Quick Response) code on the computer screen. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/QR_code)

Scan this with the cell phone and you’ll get a map of Alcatraz Island in San Francisco Bay with an arrow pointing to “Cassandra” -- presumably the same Cassie mentioned in Anderson’s email to Max. 

Odds & ends: The Palace of Fine Arts is a real place, but no longer includes an art museum. Its web site (http://www.palaceoffinearts.org/Welcome.html) indicates that its centerpiece is a theater.

Shouldn’t that California Highway Patrol car be a US Park Police car instead? (The Presidio is a national park.) 

Presumably the king in the Archimedes cut-scene is Hiero II of Syracuse, where Archimedes lived for most of his life. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hiero_II_of_Syracuse)

For details on the concept of “pi,” consult http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pi.

The “1477” for the Madonna Benois is a guess, and probably as good as any. It’s hard to track much of Da Vinci’s artwork in detail. Encyclopedia Britannica dates the painting from 1475-78. Wikipedia reports that Da Vinci’s commented in 1478 on having started two Madonnas -- one of which might have been the Madonna Benois -- and I’ve seen other web sources estimate 1475-1480 and 1479-81.

Alcatraz

Nina has no sooner arrived in the cell block than her ally discovers the system has been hacked. The exit behind Nina is locked and most of the cell doors are closed. The only exit is a single open cell on the lower level and that first appears to be a dead end.

Look out the barred window of this cell to get the lay of the land. You’ll notice that a cable beside Nina’s high window links the cell block to an adjacent outbuilding decorated with the “Vitruvian Man” symbol from the desktop of the museum computer. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vitruvian_Man)

In other words, you have to get through these bars and then slide down the cable. The bolt cutters won’t work. But there’s a pile of bricks here. Perhaps you could use them to weight the bars and pull them out of the old masonry.

Take some bricks and the blanket from the bed and combine them in inventory. Now you just need something to tie up this makeshift sack so the bricks don’t all spill out. Back in the hall, you’ll find a cable running up the wall to the air conditioner above the exit. You can’t just cut this, either -- the cable is live -- and must cut the power first.

Take the mug on the shelf in the open cell, fill it with water from the toilet in the lower right corner and use the filled mug on the air conditioner. Now, Nina can’t actually reach the unit and appears to pour the water on top of the door. But let’s not let the facts get in the way of a so-so story: In the game’s mind, it’s shorted out.

Now Nina can cut the cable as proposed earlier and use it in inventory on the “blanket with bricks” to create “Sack of Bricks.”

You need gravity to work for you, so you’ll need to set up the bag o’bricks in the exterior view where the sack can acquire momentum. Look out the window again and use the bag on the window. (Right of the vertical pipe, second from the top.) No, it won’t fit through the bars as is, but Nina handles all the logistics of re-jiggering bag, bricks and cable without further input from you -- too bad; that might have been a nice mini-game -- and you’ll now find the bag hanging from the bars.

Click on the bag, then on the courtyard below and you’re (relatively) free. Left-click on the window and you’ll find Nina on a ledge beside the cable.

Or don’t. One thing’s missing: A way to slide down the cable. Look at the “showcase” display out in the cellblock hallway and Nina automatically takes a clothes hanger. Use this on the cable. Not exactly classic zip-line material, but it’ll have to do.

On arrival, you’ll get the little more info: Your still-invisible ally is a hacker running a network of captive PCs with untold computing potential. But the hacker is still dealing with enemy hackers who have invaded the system and isn’t yet willing to open the door to the sanctum. To lure your ally out, you’ll have to deal with Murphy -- a combat robot that’s blocking the way.

BattleBots

Nina can’t take on Murphy herself, so exit via the door to  the left to find your own basic combat robot, rummage through the scrap heap over to the right to claim the four attachments and use one of them on the bot in inventory to equip it. (It can use only one of these weapons per bout, and weapon installation and changes can be performed only in this room.)

Which weapon? The drill and buzz saw do 20 points damage for each successful attack compared to 10 for the taser and flamethrower.  (Your bot is also equipped with three limpet mines that do 15 points of damage if in place when Murphy launches a close-up attack.) The disadvantage is that the 20-pointers are close-combat weapons that expose your bot to the devastating mines Murphy plants in mid-field. A slower but much safer route is to rely on one of the two ranged weapons. Slow and steady wins this race.  

When you’re ready, return to Murphy and use the equipped bot on it to start the bout.
In each round, you select an attack mode (aiming the weapon high or low), a defense mode (raising the front-end plow or keeping it at ground level) and decide whether to drop a mine. (This action sends you to mid-field, but does not subject you to the mine Murphy may already have dropped there.)

The first bot to lose its 100 damage points leaves the field in a dustpan. Don’t be surprised if you lose badly. Unlike your bot, Murphy has both ranged and close-combat weapons as well as an apparently inexhaustible supply of mines -- each far more potent than anything Nina’s bot can field. Its flamethrower knocks off 60 points, the mines 50 and what appears to  be a metal cutter 30.

Basically, one bad round and it’s over.

The good news is that it’s less puzzle that endurance test. You can save the game between rounds and thus replay any that don’t go your way. Even if you lose, any damage to Murphy endures into the next battle. And there is a next battle: Nina lives to fight another day and instantly scrounges today a replacement bot from spare parts in the workroom.

Strategy? More like luck. My tests indicate no fixed patterns to Murphy’s attacks and defense. They’re apparently random and all you can do is play it by ear. If the enemy is showing showing an affection for close assaults, use your mines. If Murphy’s keeping his distance, then don’t use them. (Using them during a ranged attack just wastes them.) If your top attacks are blunted, go low and vice-versa.

And before the final round, save your game. We’re approaching one of the two points at which your choice influences the game’s ending and this will be your last chance to save for a while.

When Murphy finally goes down, the door  at the far end of the playfield bursts open and you’ll meet your ally -- Anderson’s young niece. She discloses that Archimedes devised an “ingeniously simple method” for figuring “pi.” With the formula and her network of bot computers, Cassandra found buried within the result a machine blueprint in binary code. (How Archimedes could have computed pi on his own, read binary or even recognized a machine is a whole other question.)

And that’s about the only meaningful disclosure. The folks who have been marking Nina’s progress have just arrived on the island and Cassandra has to negotiate a locked door to escape. You’ll have decide how to respond.

1) “Okay, I’ll try to gain her some more time.”

2) “And run right into them? Never. Math whiz will handle that.” 

The only clear impact right now is to change the exact circumstances of Nina’s capture -- it can also supply a couple of minor tweaks later in the game -- rather than the actual course of the plot. (Wouldn’t it be nice if someone made a real branching adventure?)

But Nina’s selflessness or selfishness here also influences which of the four conclusions you’ll see at the end of the game.

Odds & ends: Right-click on the scrap heap and Nina says “the Ludolfs would love this place” -- a reference to the German TV show “Die Ludolfs – 4 Brüder auf’m Schrottplatz.”

Cadiz

Nina wakes in a shipping container. You’ll need to shed some light on her surroundings, find a way to escape the box and then obtain access to a nearby container.

Take the can of green spray paint (it’s that green glimmer in the middle of the scene), use this on the museum keycard in inventory and slip the card through the vent at the left end. This allegedly reflects just enough light into the interior for you to spot the shadowy forms of a plastic cup at the right and a threaded bar at the far right. (You don’t need the broken cell phone.) Use the bar on the ventilation cover at the left and get out of here.

Next step: Identify and get inside the container holding the spare part that’s being shipped to the HQ of Nina’s captors -- the idea being that Max might be there, too. (The semi-conscious Nina is supposed to have overheard the guards’ reference to this part being unloaded in Rotterdam.) A clipboard on the wall over at the left reports that such containers have a white marking -- like the lower of the two at the far right.

Alas, a magenta-coded container to the left blocks the door to this container. Can you shift things around yourself so you can reach the door -- or persuade someone else to do so?

There’s a crane overhead, but the background-scenery way Nina merely notes its presence indicates this is not her objective. However, the same clipboard notes that containers coded orange are bound for the current port of Cadiz (northwest of Gibraltar along Spain’s southwestern Atlantic coast).

Maybe you could turn magenta into orange and get the sailors to unload it for you?

Use the door at the top of the ladder at the right to exit onto a balcony and learn that you’re at the aft end of the USS Ronald Reagan, the ninth of America’s 10 Nimitz-class supercarriers. There’s also a red warning light here, but you can’t do anything with it without a tool.

Tools are close by. Climb a second, smaller ladder just left of the door to reach the flight deck. Four more anonymous containers here, but these just provide cover for Nina’s movements -- which involve claiming supplies from the rear of the F-15 Strike Eagle parked over to the left.

The necessary supplies consist of the yellow grease on the fighter’s right landing gear (use the plastic cup from the shipping container to collect it) and a screwdriver from the only open tool set.

Red + yellow = orange. Drop down to the balcony again and use the screwdriver to dismantle the red warning light -- this gets you the red glass, the light itself and the lamp holder -- and use the grease on the red glass to produce a fair simulation of orange. (The other parts never find a use.)

Back down in the hold, stick this glass over the magenta code on the container to the left of the white-coded one. As Nina watches from the sidelines, an airman quickly shows up and advises the crane operator of the omission.

Magenta-coded container gone; white-coded container available for closer inspection.

The container is sealed, but a little torque from the threaded bar and the cable quickly gives way. (You’ll keep it, but it never finds a meaningful use.) Right-click on the “Part” within and you’ll access a touchscreen monitor and a mini-game: You have to assemble 11 pieces in a ring.

The “easy” version provides you with a shadowy template for seven of the pieces; the difficult version has none. Below I’ve provided for each piece the alphanumeric designation, the initial position in the piece storage area to the right and the number of required rotations. Working clockwise from the fixed-in-place piece at the top of the circle, place:
 
JP - 156899 (upper left corner) -- as is
JX - 326295 - 45 (bottom right corner) -- two rotations
JQ7896 - 78 (middle of right column) -- one rotation
JT - 25568 - X2 (second from the top in right column) -- one rotation
JT - 654495 - 4B (middle of bottom row) -- as is
JR - 56 - AX - 27 (upper right corner) -- two rotations
JQ - 12565 - 8C (second from top in left column) -- two rotations
JL - TU577 - 4F (second from the bottom in right column) -- as is
JS - 25689 -25 (lower of two pieces in the middle) -- two rotations
JP - 5689 - 56B (second from the bottom in left column) -- as is
No designation (bottom left corner) -- two rotations 

The circle complete, Nina recognizes the machine as a particle accelerator -- at least, that’s how it’s been promoted -- and heads for the ladders up to the deck, presumably with a view to escaping the ship and heading for CERN (European Organization for Nuclear Research) in Switzerland.

Odds & ends: The F-15 wouldn’t be on the carrier in real life. It’s not Navy. The “SJ” on the tails of the plane and the one at the right indicates that they are part of the USAF’s 336th Fighter Squadron based at Seymour Johnson Air Force base in North Carolina. (The “4” indicates they’re part of the 4th Fighter Wing.)

You can also take an unidentified “measuring instrument” (located between the three toolkits) and work gloves from atop the rightmost tool kit, but these never find a use.

The CERN acronym comes from the organization’s original French name: “Conseil Européen pour la Recherche Nucléaire.”

CERN I

Long non-interactive scene. Nina bluffs project boss van Rijn into releasing Max and herself (though that’s not how it works out) and rebuffs a request by research chief Jane Cunningham to contact the Guardians to acquire the unavailable element deterrium (which the “pi” machine requires).

The action finally picks up again with Max and Nina alone in the locked hospital ward. You’ll have to perform a few light housekeeping tasks here to kick things along: Get Max’s clothes from the bottom cupboard to the far right, inspect the two other cooling chambers and talk to Max. (Any order will do.)

An alarm then goes off, a guard enters and you’re escorted back to the control room. Cunningham asserts that the Guardians have raided the base and stolen antimatter.

Now, honestly doesn’t this seem like a bluff right on its face? One minute Cunningham is proposing Nina contact the Guardians and the next, turned down, she claims the circumstances now exist that require Nina to contact the Guardians.

In any case, whether technically dead (Max and Cunningham) or in “an induced coma” (the game’s hint system), Nina is dispatched into another dream sequence -- this one in a post-apocalyptic world.

Odds & ends: If you selected the first option (buying Cassandra some time) back on Alcatraz, you’ll find Anderson in the left cooling chamber -- Nina drops in a reference from The Matrix -- and the right chamber will be empty. If the second, Cassandra will occupy the right chamber.
 
The Day After

Advance four times into the white light at the end of the corridor and open the door.

Why does Nina have to be in her underwear again?

She won’t just wander the ruins. but must look for the Guardian symbol from the necklace and Potbelly Hill temple. There’s one of the wall right next to the spot where she appeared.

This would seem to point to the importance of subway access just to the right. The stairs are blocked by debris, but there’s a grate beneath the little car. Open the door and release the handbrake within and Nina will automatically push it into the crater to the right.

Turns out the grate requires a tool. You have no dream-tools at this time. You’ll have to find a way to look farther into the ruins and then come back to this task.

You might be able to do that with some sort of telescope, and a right-click on the camera in the window of the shop just across the street establishes it has a telephoto lens. You can’t get through the security glass window without a rock, and, obligingly, the game provides a whole pile of rocks immediately to the right, It’ll take three to make a hole in the window.

Reach through the hole to liberate the camera and use it on the middle of the three tall buildings in the background. This locates another Guardian symbol and also sets off a collapse in a nearby structure -- blocking the streets upscreen and to the right.

And wouldn’t you know, the debris upscreen contains the very item you need to pry up the subway grate: a loose iron bar on the fallen balcony. Use this on the air duct and drop down into the subway to find further progress blocked by a subway car and a bus balanced precariously above it. (Never mind the “two minutes to go!” in the cutaway to CERN. This is just an effort to inject some drama into the scene. You’ll have all the time you need.)

There’s no clear path up through the hole now, but perhaps that could change. The car barely visible at the left side of the hole is leaking gasoline and the leak extends down to Nina’s level. Perhaps you could set off some kind of chain reaction?

There are fires up on street level -- the same collapse that yielded the iron bar also blocked the street to the right with burning debris -- but you lack a way to bring the fire down to the gasoline.

Return to the the surface, take the teddy bear (“plush toy”) near your starting location and, returning to the subway, use it on the gasoline. Handling a gas-soaked, burning plush toy might prove tricky, so insert the iron bar into the bear in inventory before you set in aflame. Finally, back downstairs, apply the burning teddy to the gas and the car detonates, jarring the bus down into the hole. Left-click on the “Ruin” in the background and Nina automatically climbs up through the bus and appears up to the rooftop.

A Guardian stands on the far side. You’ll have to pull down the billboard to cross over the intervening flames. 

Left-click on the big reel of cable to take a stretch and use this on the lone tie-down for the billboard and the elevator mechanism at the right and then turn the handwheel just to the left of the big wheel. The billboard bends backward and Nina automatically crosses over and talks to the robed figure. He makes a gesture that Nina doesn’t interpret for us until afterward and appears to be building toward a revelation ...  but, alas, Nina is pulled back to the real world by Max and Cunningham before he can disclose the machine’s purpose.

Odds & ends: Don’t turn around as you move toward the door into the post-apocalyptic world and you’ll get the “Daredevil” achievement at the end of the game.

If you impale the teddy bear before you open the air duct, you’ll be able to take a second metal rail from the fallen balcony to open the grate.

You’ll also find a lady’s high-heeled shoe and a broken “tablet PC” down on the subway platform. Naturally, neither finds a meaningful use.

There’s kind of a glitch down in the subway station. Use any inventory item on the inaccessible bus and Nina says, “That way the bus won’t rock anymore.”

Try to use one end of the cable on the billboard itself and Nina says, “No, I’m not Fenton Paddock” -- a reference to a character in Lost Horizon, a 2010 graphic adventure that was also developed by SF3 developer Animation Arts.

CERN II

Now the Guardian’s gesture becomes clear. Nina saw numbers written in the dust. She needs to write them down herself but apparently is too debilitated from her ordeal to do so herself.

As Max, take “pen and paper” (pencil and paper in the picture) from the desk over at the left with a left-click and use it on Nina. She’ll jot down four numbers. Activate the computer terminal at the rear with a left-click and use Nina’s note on the “input field” and click on the little magnifying glass to perform the search.

The numbers turn out to be coordinates pointing an undersea location near the Greek island of Santorini.

Odds & ends: Oddly, the pictured “note with coordinates” displays slightly different coordinates than the ones that appear in the input field. 

“Bingle” is a conflation of the Bing and Google search engines.

Google Earth seems to take issue with Secret Files 3’s geography. In that program, those coordinates take you to a patch of open sea northwest of the Greek island of Anydro. (Anydro is in the Santorini municipality, according to Wikipedia, but it’s not the location displayed in the game.)

You can read about Santorini here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Santorini.

Santorini

We now find Nina, Max and Cunningham aboard a mini-sub exploring an undersea ruin between the islands of Thira and Thirasia.

Just head diagonally down and right. At the end the entry path is an amphitheater (lit by filtered sunlight) that serves as a handy reference point for your explorations. Just to the right of the theater is a dark spot that conceals the entrance to the Guardian base (currently closed). And slightly above and to the right of that entrance, you’ll find a circular recess in the cave floor -- with four distinct wedges.

These wedges will be occupied by four green crystals. Each crystal is concealed under a “heap of stones” in discrete mazes in the four corners of the ruin. Three crystals are comparatively easy to reach -- the top, left and right ones even in the “difficult” version, in which currents either block the sub’s progress or whisk it along. (In the “easy” version, the currents are just eye candy.)

The instructions below are geared to the currents of the “difficult” version, but will work for both “difficult” and “easy.” I’ve described the paths below in order of complexity.

Upper crystal: From the amphitheater, head diagonally up and right and then up and left at the first opportunity. You’ll see several channels above and right of the sub, each with its own current. Use the third one and disregard any comments Max may offer about the current. You’re doing fine: There are helpful currents and this is one.

When it drops you off, move up a bit, hit the spacebar to display the hotspots and you’ll see the “heap of stones” up and to the right. You can move there directly. Once you have the crystal, head down and right and pick up a current that will take you back toward the amphitheater.

Right crystal: From the amphitheater, head straight right across a large open space. You’ll cross the closed entrance to the Guardian base and, farther right, a large recess in the ocean floor with an orange-ish light in its depths and two passage entrances nearby -- one above it and one to the right.

You want the upper one. Once inside, head diagonally down and right and follow the third (last) passage up and right, up and left and then up and right again to a large oblong chamber with a current heading down and left in the middle.

Let that current take you down a flight stairs. When it drops you off, continue down and left to another current and another flight of stairs and then follow the winding corridor up and to the right to the heap of stones.  Once you have the crystal, just use the current in the corridor down and to the left to start you on the way back to the large central area.

Left crystal: From the amphitheater, head a short ways diagonally down and left and then, at first opportunity, up and left. At the top of this passage, a current will pick you up and carry you to the left. When it drops you off again, move down and left to the next corridor and follow this down and right.

Use the exit on the left side of this passage to drop down and left. Head up the passage beyond and, at the top, head down and left again. Then head up and left just a touch and a current should pick you up. Just below where it drops you off, you’ll see a passage in the shape of a backward “C.” Follow this down to reach a large open region. Just right of the entrance to this region is another passage with another current. Let it carry you down and right and then you’ll be able to travel directly to the heap of stones and its green crystal -- then up and right for a current that takes you back to the amphitheater area.

Lower crystal: Here you’ll need to move especially cautiously, in small steps, paying careful attention to the currents.

1) Below and to the right of the amphitheater mentioned earlier is a circular plaza. And just below this plaza are  two tunnels. You want the upper of the two.  Follow it down and right to the end.

2) Here a current will take you a short distance down and left. When it drops you off, move up and left to another down-and-left current.

3) Use it. When this one drops you off, head up and left until you can’t move any farther in that direction. Let the down-and-left current pick you up here.

4) And this is especially important: When this current drops you off, move down and right. Don’t let either of the first two currents you encounter pick you up -- if they do, you’ll be swept back to the start and have to start over -- but use the third one to move down and left.

5) When the current drops you off, hit the spacebar and you’ll now be able to see the “heap of stones” just beyond the wall. This should be easy enough to reach without additional help. When you have the crystal, head down and let the strong current here sweep you back to our starting location and the recesses.

When you drop in the final crystal, a door opens in the sea floor nearby and the party resurfaces in the Guardian base.

Guardian Base

With Max and Nina staring zombie-like at the scenery, Cunningham handles the effort to open the base door. You’ll have to figure out a password (input via the terminal at the left) using the hieroglyphs, “Indian ornaments” and stone figures at the base of the three far pillars. In each case, you’ll want to identify what’s distinctive about the respective displays.

Hieroglyphs: Right-click on the hieroglyphics and Jane ventures that each symbols occurs a different number of times.

But note that there’s only one of the lion in the middle.

Indian ornaments: Two of the symbols beneath the relief of the Indian god Ganesha (here using the alternate spelling “Ganesh”) are missing.

But they’re also present. That is, letters are arranged in a repeating four-character pattern and you’ll quickly recognize that the second and fourth symbols from the left are the two that have been removed.

Stone figures: Twelve figures -- 11 of them with letters above their heads.

Apostles? Possibly, but that would rely on out-of-game knowledge -- rarely a good game-design principle. The letters actually represent the 12 months of the year, with December missing.

Terminal: Enter “D” for December in the first slot (four presses on the button below), the two missing Ganesha symbols in the second and third (five presses on the second and one on the third) and the lion in the fourth (three presses). Push the button at the right, the green light glows and the door opens.

Enter and Cunningham instantly reverts to her old self. She pulls a gun, injects Max with a slow-acting poison, reveals that the whole stolen anti-matter thing was a bluff and tasks Nina to disable the forcefield protecting the lump of deterrium that powers the base.   

Move left to a multi-handed clock and a mural. This is the entrance to the chamber with the forcefield controls. Mastering the elaborate lock requires  that you connect the images on the eight hands to related images in the mural. (Which should feel weirdly familiar: These are all characters from our story.)

Some of this should be obvious right off the bat. For instance, the “pistol” hand should point northwest, as per Cunningham in the second drawing from the right. (Just click on this icon four times to swing it into position.)

The “paint brush” hand should point west, as per Da Vinci in the fourth drawing from the left.  (Four clicks.)

Some are a bit vaguer. For instance, the “compass” hand should point south -- as per Archimedes in the leftmost drawing. He’s pointing down at a circle, which can be drawn perfectly using a compass. (Five clicks.)

The hieroglyphic flourishes on the “eye” icon connect that hand with the drawing of Cleopatra, who is pointing east. (Six clicks.)

And if you recognize the rightmost drawing as the “Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse,” it can correspond only to the “skull” hand. This should be pointed northeast, as per the sword of the leftmost rider. (Four clicks.)

And sometimes the description or icon is misleading. The “dagger” hand, for instance. This corresponds to the picture of Menis Ra outside the burning Alexandria library. He has a dagger -- the shaft pointed vaguely southeast and the curved tip east. But the hand should be pointed southwest (seven clicks) -- as per Menis’s extended right arm.

And what do you with hands labeled “Venus” and “Mars” when no representations of those Roman gods of love and warm appear in the mural?

Well, you could get the “Mars” hand tangled up in your head with the “Four Horsemen” image. I guess that was the idea. But in this case, focus on the icons on those hands: the universal symbols for “women” and “men” -- corresponding to the comparatively generic drawings of Nina pointing up at the sun -- hence north (six clicks) -- and Max puttering archaeologically down and to the right, hence southeast (four clicks).

When all eight hands are in place, the face recedes and slides away and Nina can enter the chamber beyond. Things go on automatic for a while here: an agitated walkie-talkie message from Cunningham and a telepathic or dream encounter with a Guardian, who finally explains the Guardians’ mission (protecting humanity against its own destruction) and the machine’s purpose. It’s effectively the four horsemen of the mural -- a kind of doomsday device to prevent the expansion of mankind into the stars. If you build it, everything will go.

This would be a good place to save your game. Once you right-click on the console to the left of the central tank, you’ll find another decision point like the one back on Alcatraz. 

1) “Deactivate the force field and save Max.”

Pick this one and you’ll get an extra puzzle -- a sliding-block affair that involves clearing a path for the single red block over to the right edge of the playfield.

It’ll look like this at the start:

 Maze

They key is to drop down by two squares the long vertical piece -- #4 in the picture-- that starts out immediately to the right of the red one. Then the thing should more or less solve itself. The optimal solution below is 25 moves. If you find yourself stuck at 28, you’re probably forgetting to drop down the short vertical piece #7 beneath the red one, which will save you some maneuvering in the later going.)

- Move piece #1 left one square.

- This clears the way for piece #2. Move it down one square.

- And this clears the way for piece #3. Move it three squares to the right ...

- ... which then allows you to move piece #4 up one square. This may seem counter-intuitive -- ultimately, #4 needs to go down -- but it’s just a temporary measure.

- Back to piece #1: Move it left one square ...

- ... which now clears the way to move piece #5 up one square, so it no longer blocks piece #6 in the bottom row.

- Now, move piece #6 three squares to the right.

- This permits you to move piece #7 down one square ...

- ... and that allows you to finally get bothersome piece #1 out of the way entirely. Move it left two squares.

- And that allows you to move piece #4 down three squares and out of the way of the red piece.

- Almost done. Move the red piece right three squares.

- Now it’s just a matter of mopping up. Move piece #4 back up one square to the left of the red piece, piece #6 left onto the square just vacated by #4 and piece #2 down two squares into the square just vacated by #6. Then move the red piece one square to the right and you’re done. Cunningham says “thank you” in Russian (a reminder that this is Nina Kalenkov) and heads back the CERN with the deterrium.

2) “Leave the forcefield on and save the world.”

No puzzle. Try to exit the room. Cunningham marches in, decks Nina and deactivates the forcefield herself.

In either case, leave the chamber, grab Jane’s left-behind bag beside the exit, empty it in inventory with a right-click and use the antidote it contains on Max.

Odds & ends: The Guardian’s disclosures invite a number of questions -- few of which are answered here. Why connect computers with interstellar travel?Why assume such travel is a bad thing? Why sequester the blueprint inside “pi” and thus seem to invite mankind to its own destruction?

If Nina declined to buy Cassandra extra time back on Alcatraz, you’ll find Cunningham’s CERN keycard in the bag. It’s effectively useless and, by the time you take control of Nina again at CERN, it’s gone. Presumably this is the same elevator card that she hands off to Max in the “CERN III” sequence below -- but Nina does this anyway even if  she didn’t find it in the bag.  

The second walkie-talkie is here just so Nina can automatically hand it off to Max in the next segment.

CERN III

Things go automatic for a while. When you resume control, you’ll find yourself switching back and forth between Nina (working with a programmer to shut down the deterrium-powered machine) and Max (bound for the transformer building on the surface to shut down the power).

First off, Nina and her unnamed assistant must address the newly-activated security system. You need to use a particular keycard (i.e. not the one Nina gives Max for the elevator) on the wall console just to the right of the entrance to the data-center hallway.

This can be found on the table in that same hallway (i.e. not the empty table next the door back to the control room).

Alas, you can’t just pick it up. The hall is blocked by an invisible laser grid. You’ll have to find a way past it.

Nina’s helper indicates you can’t see the beams because you’re in a dust-free room. It’s a mis-direct. I suspect the stubby pencil (in the waste basket back in the control room) and makeup in the lab coats hanging here were provided just to get you thinking along these dusty lines. But, no, there’s no makeup powder and no way to crush the pencil lead.

But perhaps smoke would work as well. There’s also keyring/lighter in the lab coats hanging to the left of the locked door to the hospital ward. And van Rijn left a cigar in an ashtray to the left of the central chair in the control room. Use the lighter on the cigar and then the lit cigar on either the overhead sensor on the right side of the data-center hallway entrance or the empty table beside the door back to the control room. 
 
And there’s your grid. It’s not one of those intruder-friendly laser grids you see in the movies, either. No ready gaps. No one’s getting past it.

But perhaps something small could. The assistant has a radio-controlled UFO model stowed in the file cabinet back in the control room. In inventory, equip it with the sticky poster strips from the trash basket at the left side of the room and this task no longer looks quite so impossible.

Alas, if you now use the saucer on the keycard table, you’ll find it’s too large to pass undetected through the gaps in the laser grid. You’re going to have to open up a path.

The mirror from the lab coats is just the ticket. Again, this might have been a nice little mirrors mini-game -- I get the sense that SF3 had a very frugal budget -- but it’s just another inventory combo: Use the remaining poster strips on the mirror, then the re-purposed mirror on the laser grid to open up a gap near floor level and finally the sticky UFO on the keycard table. The assistant takes over piloting duties (again, no mini-game) and the keycard is yours.

No opportunity to use it just yet, though, as the action switches over to Max -- stuck in the elevator. Retrieve the elevator keycard from the slot on the control panel, use it on the hatch (“slab”) at the upper left to unscrew the fastenings, climb through the gap and try the ladder at the right to set off the elevator’s rapid descent. To stop it, take the metal pin in front of the right-hand set of cables and use it on the left guide wheel.

Back to Nina. Use the keycard on the console on the wall to the right of the hallway entrance and make for the data center.

The entrance turns out to be guarded by two burly soldiers and and none of the leftovers from the laser-grid affair allow Nina to MacGyver her way past them.

Happily, it also turns out the keycard also gets you into the hospital ward where van Rijn awakened Max back in CERN I. Use the keyring/lighter to unlock the top cabinet at the far right. Dressings, disinfectant, laser pointer and defibrillator all in one blow.

The first two never find a role in the game -- so what else is new? -- but the pointer does a nice job of setting off the sprinkler over the left guard’s head and once his comrade has checked out, the defibrillator, used on the resultant puddle, does a nice job of shocking him into unconsciousness.

Enter the data center. The assistant sets about reprogramming the experiment while Nina is tasked with heading off the folks who soon begin cutting their way through the door.

You won’t have far to look. Use the defibrillator to break open the locked fire cabinet to the left of the door, take the axe within and use it on the liquid-nitrogen pipe above the door. The first guard through goes down and Nina evidently holds invisible others at bay with his dropped gun.

At which time we return to Max -- still in the elevator shaft. Climb the ladder at the right to reach the surface and try the door to the transformer over at the left.

Locked. Use the walkie-talkie on Max to consult Nina. She says they can unlock it electronically from the data center but requests an ID code for the door.

Again, simple: Just above the door handle is a steel plate. Right-click on the plate for a close-up view, undo any of the four screws using the keycard, right-click on the reference number at the bottom and, back in the full view, use the walkie-talkie on Max to radio the number to Nina.

Shouldn’t there be some kind of final puzzle here?

No, apparently not. The experiment, suddenly uncontained, envelopes both Cunningham and the newly-returned Van Rijn and ...

Epilogue

... well, actually, that’s pretty much it. Kind of abrupt, no? The game jumps first to an afterword where you learn which of the four endings you’ve unlocked. Without giving away too much, here’s how it plays out:

Option #1 at Alcatraz (help Cassandra) + option #1 in the Guardian base (save Max) = The “Partner” ending. (“What would the world be without someone at your side?”)

Option #1 at Alcatraz + option #2 in the base (save the world) = The “Good Samaritan” ending. (“Give help when asked.”)

Option #2 at Alcatraz (blow off Cassandra) + option #1 at the base = The “Party Animal” ending. (“Invite everyone to come to the wedding.”)

Option #2 at Alcatraz + option #2 at the base = The “Hero” ending. (“What good is a partner without the world?”)

Stick around for a followup devoted to the fate of lesser characters -- don’t be thrown off by the first reference to Emre (he appears here twice) -- and, after the credits, a series of “outtakes” -- some of them quite funny. (If the outtakes don’t appear, you haven’t installed Update 1.3.)

You’ll also be able to visit a “Bonus” section that also includes your achievements and a long scroll of hand-drawn artwork from the early stages of the game -- with photos of the game’s creators at the end.  I’ve already outlined certain of the achievements in the course of the walkthrough. The ones I haven’t touched upon refer more to your general conduct of the game than specific events.  I’ve seen coverage of these at http://guides.gamepressure.com/secretfiles3thearchimedescode/guide.asp?ID=16551 and http://secretfiles3walkthrough.blogspot.com/2012/09/achievements.html
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