Cool Hand, Luke
With Prison Architect's 1.0 release, we've also received a new toy: Escape Mode! You can now play as an inmate in your own prison, or one from the Steam workshop. Form a gang, collect contraband, brawl with guards and other inmates, and try to bust out.
I haven't built my own prison yet, so I thought I'd download one. I also thought I should use a Star Wars mod from the Steam Workshop. I did both of those things, then tried to escape an Imperial prison filled with stormtroopers, droids, and aliens. Here's how it went.
We're gonna have company
I'm a prisoner named Cleary, possibly a Rebel, possibly a smuggler, possibly just a routine scoundrel. I, and several other inmates, are dropped off by a prison van (I was hoping for a T-4a Imperial shuttle, frankly). A bunch of stormtroopers swarm over while R2 units speed around busily. There are even scout troopers walking probe droids (the mod's version of contraband-sniffing dogs). Pretty adorable! Everyone is led off to their cells.
Forget me not
Well, almost everyone. For someone reason they've forgotten to take me to my cell. I wait for a long time, watching an R2 unit using a rake to tidy up, wondering if perhaps I've already escaped thanks to sheer incompetence. Eventually a trooper returns and leads me away. I guess the stormtrooper bureaucracy isn't any tighter than their blaster aim.
Attack of the Cons
Once I'm settled in my cell (all cells have bedspreads with the Imperial logo on them!) I get down to business, the business of building my reputation by beating the crap out of someone. I choose an inmate named Whitham in the next cell. By the time a stormtrooper intervenes and pummels me unconscious I've gained a little respect (2 points worth) from the rest of the prisoners.
Good luck, sir
I wake up in the infirmary, submerged in a bacta tank and tended to by medical droids. Then I'm carted off to solitary. You can skip punishments in Escape mode, but it costs you a point of reputation. It's pretty boring waiting in solitary, though, so I just skip it, beat someone else up to earn a few more points, and skip the punishment again.
With a rep I can start recruiting a gang, and my first acquisition is a giant Wookie named Moon. This both opens the door for a lot of "That's no moon" jokes, but also provides me with a Wookie for a best friend, something I've dreamed of since, oh, May of 1977.
(Looking closely at Moon now makes me think maybe he's an Ewok. But what Ewok is that big? Gotta be a Wookie. I'm saying he's a Wookie.)
Members of your gang will follow you and do whatever you do. You can toggle their perma-loyalty off, though I never do that. I want my Wookie with me forever. We spend our time searching other cells for contraband while everyone else is in the yard, and soon we've got a bunch of drugs and booze stashed in our bunks. I also steal a pair of scissors from the infirmary, but when I try to hide them in the toilet, I instead accidentally dig a hole in the floor. Whoops! Uh... I guess the escape has begun!
The escape has ended. After some tunneling, my scissors break and I climb out of the hole to find a stormtrooper beating the shit out of me. While Moon and I are clubbed into unconsciousness, R2 units arrive to patch up the tunnel and replace the toilet. Until I think up a new plan, Moon and I gain some rep by beating a Tusken prisoner (serving time for raiding?) to death.
What's up, doc?
I see a human physician walking around the cellblock, and it looks like I can recruit him. Having an actual prison staff member on my side? That'd be great! He can probably get access to all sorts of restricted areas! After I spend points recruiting him, however, I realize that he's not a physician or a member of the staff. 'Physician' is just his last name. Dylan Physician. I've been had by the oldest prison con in the book: pretending your name is your job.
To punish Physician for his ruse, I send him into the cafeteria to wait by the kitchen door. (You can take control of anyone in your gang at any time, and use him to lead the pack or go solo). When a cook opens the door, Physician slips in, looking for weapons of the pointy variety. He grabs a knife but is quickly tazed by a trooper and carted off to solitary. They don't take his knife away, though. Silly stormtroopers! Once he's back in genpop we use his knife to stab a stormtrooper to death. Killing guards gives you a lot more reputation points than killing prisoners!
We add another crew member, a hulking dude named Shelley, and spend a few days waiting for guards to open restricted doors and then running in and trying to overpower them. Our rebellions never last long, though. One night after lights out, the four of us manage to avoid going to our cells and try to simply run out the front gate when a truck arrives. We're nabbed and hauled back.
I have an idea, but it's going to take an additional recruit, so after beating up a few more guards for cred, I head into the yard near dusk and recruit a Rodian (a Greedo guy) named Gordon. There's one stormtrooper that patrols with a taser and a gun, and I want to take that gun and shoot our way out. The plan is to arm Gordon with a weapon, and while my crew surrounds and distracts the trooper with punches, Gordon swoops in and finishes him off.
Greedo's shot first
Naturally, that's not the real plan. I know from experience that the armed guard uses his tazer on whoever attacks him first. What I don't know is how soon after that he starts shooting. So, the real plan is, I punch the trooper, I get tazed, and everyone else in the gang runs away. Everyone but Gordon. Gordon hacks away with his pair of scissors and is shot dead moments later. Such is the fate of Rodians. At least we know more about that guard, though!
Cut to the chase
I figure if we can all gather scissors, maybe we'll be able to take down that armed guard before everyone gets shot dead. We head to the infirmary where I find a pair of scissors. Then another pair. Then two more. Every time we make another circuit of the room, we find another pair. Soon everyone has scissors in both hands. Maybe it's time for the original plan again? I didn't tunnel far with one pair of scissors, but now we've got eight.
The big dig
Moments later we're in Shelley's cell (his is the closest to the outer wall) dismantling his toilet, cutting a hole in the floor, jumping in, and digging through the dirt. As we progress deeper and deeper toward the wall, scissors begin to break. We're down to seven pairs, then six, then five as we inch closer and closer to the wall.
On the lam
And then we're out. We're free! Thankfully we weren't imprisoned on the Death Star or we'd have been either sucked into space or hit with a proton torpedo heading the other way.
What happened next to my rag-tag gang of space convicts, I wonder? I figure we killed Physician pretty much immediately, right? Dude was a weasel. Shelley probably decided to go his own way, maybe to become the administrator of some sort of hovering gas-based facility. Cleary and Moon? They're still together. Outlaws. Scoundrels. Best friends forever.