The Great Sea Detective
Coast Guard is a weird game. Part of it is what you'd expect: steering ships awkwardly around an unconvincing ocean, pulling people out of the water, and helping ships in distress. Mostly, though, you walk around in first-person collecting items (adventure game style), solving murder mysteries, and dealing with sneering villains, amnesia subplots, and voice acting and animation that are best described as 'probably not meant to be as hilarious as they are.'
An hour in, however, I stumbled onto a mission that stood out among the memory-loss drama and murder mystery flashbacks and abduction subplots. I decided to create a walkthrough of it for you.
Here's how to beat Coast Guard's best quest. Warning: MASSIVE, MASSIVE SPOILERS for a mission in which you, well, you verify a commercial fishing licence. You've been warned.
Part 1: The Setup
A commercial trawler has begun taking on water near an offshore oil rig. Point your giant, slow-ass Coast Guard ship at it, and spend an eternity slowly driving toward it. And don't worry: if helping a ship pump out water sounds boring to you, this is just the beginning.
Part 2: It's Draining Men
Once arrived, hand the pump to the captain by driving your boat directly into his. The captain is grateful you've saved his life ("Super," he says), and tells you his men will begin draining. While you're waiting for his men to drain, just sit there in your boat, relaxing, for ages. There are some sky fish (birds, to a layman) flapping around, but they don't have anything to do with the mission. Or do they?
No, they don't.
Part 3: Unanswered Questions
But wait! Since you've got hours of sitting here to look forward to, the wheels in your head begin to turn. Or, since this is a boat game, the sails in your head begin to flap. Is the captain of this ship aware he's fishing in the exclusive economic zone? As every boatman worth his keelhaul knows, only the bordering state is allowed to do that. Finally, it's time to do some Guarding of the Coast.
Start interrogating the captain. And be ready... for anything.
Part 4: Prompt And Complete Answers To Those Questions
The captain will tell you he's sailing under the flag of the bordering state and that his ship is registered with them. Don't just take his word for it, sailor! Ask him what fish his license is for, and ask for his IMO number and his registration code. Make a note of his answers, because this mission is about to go off the rails.
Wait, it's a boat game. This mission is about to off the... sails.
Part 5: The Colman Paradox
Turn to your associate, Colman. He's the guy standing right behind you with dead eyes. He's going to check all this information is accurate, so you need to tell him exactly what the captain just told you, even though Colman was standing right there the whole time. Do you remember the registration number? Was it TKKB? Or was it something else?
It was TKKB.
Part 6: Fatima's Keen Eye
Now that Colman is working his magic, it's time to visit an expert in fishing licenses: your engineer, Fatima. She's sitting in the ship's basement (also known as the under-part), drinking coffee and contemplating a piece of bread. Tell her the captain said he was fishing for alfonsino. Fatima, as usual, doesn't miss a trick. You need a special license to fish for that fish, she informs you. Holy shit. She's right. Fatima has done it again.
Head back up to the 'boat roof' to question the captain... if he's even a real captain.
Part 7: A New Mystery
On your trip back up the ship-stairs to the 'top boat part', another mystery presents itself. No! Resist! No side-quests, no distractions. You need to confront "the captain" about the fish he is fishing, and whether or not he can fish it without breaking sea-law.
This mystery... will have to wait.
Part 8: Electronic Promises
It looks like the boat-shoe is on the other foot as you question the captain about that specific license he needs to do the sea-thing he is doing. He's not sure he can find the license, and asks if he can 'e-mail' it to you. E-mail? I'm an expert in boating, not computers, but it looks to me like you've caught him in a lie! Let's sit back and see how he 'flounders.'
Part 9: The Colman Paradox, Part 2
So, yeah, he immediately emails you the license. Colman, helpful as always, prints it out on your ship's printer, and places it on your desk (called a dinghy), even though—again—Colman is standing six inches (half a league, in ocean terms) behind you. He's also applied orange eyeliner for reasons known only to him. That Colman! He's an odd duck, though I don't know what I'd do without him.
Collect the email and head 'under decks' to see what Fatima makes of all this.
Part 10: The Fatima Checkmate
Fatima, once again, comes through in the clutch. Drag the license from your backpack onto her face, and she'll verify the license is legit and the captain can hunt those fish he likes so damn much. Colman has been busy as well: he radios down that all of the information you gave him earlier is completely on the level:
This crew, right? This. Damn. Crew. The mission is a true team effort. There's no time to celebrate, though! Time to head 'top-ways' one final time to tell the captain he wasn't lying to us.
Part 11: The Ugly Truth Is Finally Revealed
The captain is relieved to find out he hadn't fabricated his entire story. And well he should be! Lying about fish and not sending emails you promised to send is a major boat crime, and the punishment is to die by harpoons. That probably sounds harsh to you land-livers, but out on the high seas we're not so forgiving. Fact: The Coast Guard executes over thirty thousand people per year.
Part 12: It's Not Over Until It's Over, And It's Over Now
Just when you think this mission has ended—the one where you checked a boat license and found that it was a real one—comes a twist. Well, not a twist, really. The captain complains that fishermen are subjected to scruitiny while the oil industry never is. Does anyone ever ask the oil rigs to send an email? The captain sure doesn't seem to think so.
Part 13: Seriously, It Was Over At Part 12
Checking out the oil rig reveals that there's been a murder, and there's interrogations and rescues and all sorts of drama that I'm sure you don't want to read about.
Coast Guard, which is sort of funny but not very good, is available on Steam.