Hotel Dusk: Room 215

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When I owned a DS console many years ago, I remember playing a game called Hotel Dusk: Room 215. It was more like an interactive book than a classic adventure game. At times a little tedious, it had a super gripping storyline and I couldn’t forget.

In the story, protagonist Kyle Hyde, former NYPD detective, has left the force and is now a door-to-door salesman. He’s still trying to find out what happened to his former partner. When his employer sends him to Hotel Dusk in LA, he finds a host of characters that all tie together into a larger plot, which appears to be connected to the disappearance of Kyle’s former partner.

When I discovered the DesMuME emulator for the DS recently, I thought I’d try running the game on my Surface Pro – and it’s almost exactly like having a super sized DS, complete with stylus.

Since the game has it’s tricky moments, I’ve made list of questions I had while re-playing the mysteries of Hotel Dusk: Room 2015.

How do I open the suitcase?

So the key breaks, and the paper clip isn’t strong enough to jimmy open the lock on your suitcase. Good thing there’s a hanger by the door of your room. Bad news is that it’s attached to the wall.

There’s a locker at the end of the upstairs hallway that contains a toolbox. In it you’ll find some pliers. Grab them and use them on the hanger. The trick here is that the hanger can be cut literally anywhere, and most of the time Kyle will say that this isn’t the way to cut it. All we need is a straight piece from the bottom section, perhaps 1/3 of the width of the hanger. Take the resulting piece to your suitcase and push all elements in until they click.

How do I get the bookmark?

When Kyle looks at Summer’s box, there appears to be nothing we can do. When this happens, it’s not the right time yet to sole this puzzle. Kylie will remind himself to look for the bookmark after speaking to Melissa in Room 219. That’s the time to head back to Room 215 and examine Summer’s box.

When you examine the box on the right now, a puzzle should start. The idea is to tap on the box and dislodge the elusive bookmark. The way to do it is to turn the box sideways, so that the longer side is at the bottom. Look inside the box and you see these two flaps at the bottom. The bookmark is hiding behind one of them. Turn the box around (to the left or right), then tap on its backside several times. Now look inside and see if the bookmark is visible. Slide it out of it’s there.

If you can’t see it, you must turn the box the other way round and try again. The bookmark is behind one of those inside flaps.

How do I fix the Electrical Room to rescue Melissa?

As Louie will tell you, “Old man Dunning always used both hands”. You must push both switches up at the same time, then flick the middle switch up. On a real DS device this is best done with the help of a second stylus.

On an emulator this isn’t so easy, because you can’t have two mouse pointers. But there is a trick that will work, at least on DeSmuME:

  • flick the left switch up, but don’t let go of the mouse (keep pressing down)
  • pause the emulator, then let go of the mouse
  • position the pointer over the right switch
  • un-pause the emulator and flick the right switch up (keep pressing down)
  • pause the emulator again (both switches are now up)
  • position the pointer over the red button in the middle
  • un-pause the emulator and flick the middle button up
  • case closed – girl rescued

How do I save Mila?

Mila will spontaneously collapse in “the special room” and Rosa will tell you that she’s not breathing. At first it appears that you need to do some mouth to mouth resuscitation, and logic dictates that perhaps we should blow into the DS microphone. However, when you try to do that, Rosa will tell you that you can’t do it from “back there” and that you should bring your face closer to Mila’s.

Turn out that the correct solution is very literal indeed: on the left screen we see Kyle’s face, and on the right screen we see Mila’s. So on a real DS, all we have to do is close the device, so that both faces are “closer together”.

On an emulator this approach isn’t doing to work. Lucky for us there us there is another way to save Mila from certain death: touch her face several times. Eventually she’ll wake up and everything is peachy again.

What if I don’t have the black light?
How do I use the computer in the basement?

The computer will decode a cryptic message you get from the lockbox in the cabinet. Essentially it gives away the game’s major plot twist. Once you’ve fixed the electrical connection to the computer, you can switch it on and type in the code you get at the bottom of Robert Evans’ letter.

But here’s the snag: you need to select the correct number at the top right for the code to be decrypted properly. The code is written on the piece of paper in front of the computer. You can only read this by shining the black light from the storage room on though.

However, it’s really easy to miss that black light if you don’t know it existed. Now what? You’re stuck in the basement, and even before the door is locked, there’s just no way to get out of the wine cellar anymore. So what can we do?

On a real DS, rumour has it that you can tilt the screen and make out the number on the piece of paper. Emulator users aren’t so lucky, as the image appears completely white, but we can employ a different strategy: trial and error. In essence we’ll have to try every number on the computer (1-29) until something sensible is decrypted. But we don’t have much time because the room is locked and we’re running out of air.

Save your game in a different slot at a point when you’re just about ready to decrypt the message. Switch on the computer and pick a number (you get three tries before Kylie dies). Don’t type the whole message, instead only use the second word in the phrase (it’s a two-letter word, randomly generated). Now press enter until it’s decrypted. If the word is decoded as “is”, you’ve got the right number! Reload your game and try to decode the whole message.

I’ve read that the number we read on the piece of paper is randomly generated for each play-through, however for me it’s always been 18. It’s a good number to start with.

I’m done in the basement, and I’m walking with Louie. But I can’t trigger the “breaking bricks” puzzle to reveal the hidden door. What gives?

The game is a little temperamental here. You must walk past a certain spot in the basement corridor to trigger it and advance. Walk close to the outside wall rather than in the middle of the corridor and you’ll soon discover it.

The exact spot is around the bottom right corner of the basement corridor.

I’m playing this game on the newfangled iOS Emulator, but…

The emulator is a fork/iOS wrapper of the DeSmuME emulator that can be run via the iOS springboard. I’ve played this game on my M2 iPad with Apple Pencil and sadly some locations can’t be searched properly. This is directly related to this particular emulator version, not DeSmuME. If you have the same issues, I recommend not playing Hotel Dusk on the emulator at this time.

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