Doki Doki Literature Club
Review: The Good Ending
The Good Ending is a Doki Doki Literature Club mod that is just... holy fuck it's so good. Every DDLC fan should play this. It's completely linear, but the story might be even stronger than the original game. The prologue and act 1 are out so far. The premise of the prologue is that the Dokis have experienced the horrible events of DDLC countless times with their memories wiped (my interpretation is that it happens again whenever a new person plays DDLC), but this time MC of all people manages to resist the mind wipe and knows that it's a game. He takes Monika's ability to tamper with the world and tries to make everyone happy. But his strategy is a misguided one, and there's a threat he doesn't understand...
The mod boasts music from the Monika Before Story OST (read: really good music), and a *lot* of really interesting new poems.
Monika Before Story review
Another really cool thing about this mod is the huge array of hidden and cryptic messages in the game's files - staying faithful to the original game, only perhaps making it even better. (Definitely keep an eye on the game directory while playing.) It goes as far as PGP encrypted files, vigenere ciphers, and also, the dreaded symbol "158"... What could it mean? I got goosebumps just thinking about this "158" after I finished the prologue. That's how good a job it did.
Most of the secret files are under `/game/mod_assets/animations/zxfip-m/`. I'll detail the ones that take some solving. Spoilers after this point!!
Dear Player.txt is a plain textfile.
My theory is that she wrote this after the normal ending of the original game but before this mod. It seems at first to be a plothole that she said she couldn't make changes on my computer anymore but managed to write this, but you could argue maybe the thoughts sort of spilled out of her mind and got written to a file by "the game". After all, some of the files in the original game seem best explained by that.
sayori.chr is a PGP private/public key pair, and the plaintext in the file "youarethekeytomyheart" is the password to unlock it.
mc.chr (only visible under /game/mod_assets/animations/zxfip-m/chr-file-bkup/) is a PGP message decryptable with Sayori's key. It reads:
natsuki.chr is an enormous ASCII art image that looks like the fully decoded version of her .png from the original game.
monika.chr, in addition to the plaintext poem and the line of base64 text far at the bottom (which decodes to "iamamonster"), contains another PGP message. It's signed with the key "moni" (see below), although not encrypted.
yuri.chr is base64 text that decodes to... more base64 text! You put it through the decoder twice to get the final message. The final message reads:
Whitegemgames pointed out that this isn't exactly the top part of the gibberish poem from Act 2. Letters have been capitalized spelling "THETRUTHSHERE".
Natsuki's base64 poem decodes to a PGP private/public key pair called "moni". It's ascii armored twice though, so you have to remove the first layer before GPG can import it (I used `gpg --dearmor`). The passphrase is "iamamonster".
In the game's script, right after Natsuki's base64 poem, there's a commented-out line of base64 that translated to ASCII text under a substitution cipher. Using frequency analysis, I decoded it to:
Curiously, this sounds like Sayori talking.
oracle.txt is a base64 encoded PNG of a QR code leading to https://www.reddit.com/r/DDLC/comments/9frl93/monikas_dream . The only notable thing about the thread is the comment by /u/Sayori_Is_Life, which is "moni" followed by a PGP message encyrpted by the key. It reads:
ourgreatescape.txt is text encoded with a Vigenere cipher, the key being "Libitina". This one took me a long time to figure out because I thought that the "L..." at the top was part of the message, but it's actually just a hint at what the key is. It reads:
Full list of splash messages:
- please help us
- 158 sees all
- Naught but 158 can take my love from me
- I sit by the edge of a treacherous cliff and throw stones.
- This game This game This game This game Th
- Despite all of it thank you so much
- I promise we will be free
- How did you find this, anyway?
- Nothing else is quite like this
- There's nothing you can do but watch
- We are all blind in here
- Nothing can save him now
- Great darkness resides in this place
You might've already seen it on your initial playthrough (I didn't), but the game's menu screen changes throughout the game. After MC lashes out at Monika the first time, there's a line of code that sets a flag called "tippingpoint", with the comment "It happened here", and Monika is removed from the main menu. After you find her dead, the flag "hatred" is set, with the comment "Who are you to judge? Would you have been any different?" and the main menu shows everyone as a ghost with the logo replaced with tge-logo2.png.
Act 1 secrets
`the_lock.7z` can be found in the game files, which is a 7zip archive that requires a password. Digging more in the game directory reveals `thekey.png`. Breaking this code was a pretty fun challenge and I encourage you to try it yourself, but incase you don't have time:
Rot13 encoded hint: Gur zrffntr vf vagragvbanyyl zvfcryyrq.
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