Sunday, April 03, 2011

The Unseen Hand of Ling Shan

In GTA: Chinatown Wars, Ling Shan is the short-lived weapons master who trains the newbie (you) on a few killer moves.  It's a bit of a bummer that she gets rubbed out so soon.

Even so, the entire game feels her overfluttering presence.  Ling has stashed weapons in the red dumpsters scattered all over Liberty City, so everything you need in the manslaughter department comes, free like beer, out of Ling Shan's playfully filial foreviolence.

There's lots of dumpsters. It's a chore to find all the red ones&dagger — some GTA players consider dumpster diving a fun mini-game, but the unbalanced few who tumble early to the fact that dumpsters, if and only if they're red, always spawn the same kind of weapon make it a full-scale mission to classify the diversity of available mayhem in each location.

Green dumpsters by contrast have interesting or allegedly comic contents, no telling which; otherwise no connection to plot or Ling Shan. The green ones do sometimes contain small neatly-wrapped packages of incidental pharmacopoeia dumped there by panicked dealers on the lam, one supposes.

R* cell-shaded Ling Shan on tons of promotional advertising before CW was finally released to the North American market IRL...then, ungratefully, killed her off in Act One, Scene Two. She was, in other words, a virtual objectification of a purely fictional character in an alternate universe that exists only in the minds of fourteen-year-olds boys playing a game rated M. Magritte a un mal de tête...

GTA scholarship being what it is, the exact locations of all those red dumpsters is a matter of closely guarded handwaving — "Dude, they're in alleys everywhere!" — but so far, I've only found enough of them to fill my Favorites list with red stars (cf. the 110% perfectly accurate IGN map here).



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