Murder on the Owl Express is Act 2 of the second Chapter: Battle of the Birds. This mission requires Hat Kid to solve a murder on the Owl Express. To do this she must gather evidence while remain out of sight of the C.A.W Agents all around the train.
Arriving on the Train
Inside the train are several Crows, claiming to be Express Owls. Hat Kid can either go talk to them or they approach her themselves once they spot her. Each one shall ask Hat Kid a question for her to give an answer to, such as the name of her uncle's sister or a body part she's ashamed of. Once Hat Kid reaches the front of the train she will find a box that has the Crime Solving Outfit inside, which will turn her top hat into a deerstalker hat and give her a stereotypical detective's outfit for the entire mission.
Right after the outfit is obtained, a phone starts to ring. When Hat Kid answers it, an ominous voice threatens her and tells her that they left a present for her in the caboose. When Hat Kid returns to the back of the train, she finds an owl in a pool of blood. The Conductor and all the other express owls are gathered to the room where the the crows reveal themselves to be members of C.A.W. (Crow Agent Watch). They say they will search the train for evidence and tell everyone not to leave the caboose for one owl hour, at which time they will leave the train with the murderer in cuffs.
The first thing to be aware of is that while the Crows suggest a time limit, there isn't one. The "clock" will only count down when entering or leaving specific rooms. After all of these rooms have been checked, the mission ends and Hat Kid must solve the murder with what evidence she's obtained:
- Entering the VIP Room.
- Exiting the Rec Room back into the first wagon (after the caboose).
- Entering the double doors at the top of the first wagon.
- Exiting the Boiler Room.
- Exiting the Sauna.
- Exiting the room labeled "KEEP OUT."
There are six pieces of evidence scattered around the train.
- At the back of the Luggage Room past the two crows is a piece of evidence.
- In the VIP Room on a table is a piece of evidence being circled by a single crow.
- There will be a piece of evidence located right inside the Rec Room
- After saving Hat Kid's pet's pet in the Engine Room, they will give her a piece of evidence.
- In the Lounge make two right turns and a piece of evidence will be found on a cart.
- The last piece of evidence is in the middle of the room labeled "KEEP OUT." The room itself is located at the top of the room with all the crows starring at the big monitor. Hat Kid will need to hit the switch found after leaving the Lounge to get to it.
- In the Night Cabin.
- In the VIP Room.
- In the Boiler Room.
- In the Sauna.
- In the Rec Room, floating in the air right above the crow. Use the Ice Hat to get it.
- In the Cafeteria, floating on an Ice Hat board. Use the Ice Hat to get it, or jump from the uppermost level with a well timed double jump.
|"A SPOILER? On MY Owl Express?"|
Once the clock strikes midnight everyone gathers back into the caboose, and C.A.W. admits that they have no idea who the murderer is. At this point, Hat Kid must choose who she thinks the culprit is!
Each piece of evidence gives a new option for who the murder could be, and it's always in order; first the Conductor, then the C.A.W. agents, Hat Kid's Aunt, the Express Owls, the Victim, and finally Hat Kid herself. But here's the truth about the murderer; they are whoever the player selects. This gives each player a unique outcome the first time they play. Below lists all the different outcomes.
If the murderer is The Conductor
The Conductor will be baffled that you picked him, he then says that he isn't the murderer, he then admits that he was the murderer. He then says that he asked the victim "to play dead and hold a rubber knife" for a few hours, the victim then leaves.
If the murderer is C.A.W.
The Crows admit that they staged a murder because of how little bird-related crime there is. So to prevent them all from being fired and living in a single room apartment, they stabbed one of the express owls with a rubber knife to make it look like murder.
If the murderer is Hat Kid's Uncle's Sister
If Hat Kid accuses her Uncle's Sister, The Conductor questions here on why she did it, she then reveals to be DJ Grooves. DJ Grooves then tells The Conductor that he pretended to be Hat Kid's Uncle's Sister to help The Conductor with the plot of his movie. He then says that she asked The Victim to put on the rubber knife and play dead to help him.
If the murderer is The Express Owls
If Hat Kid accuses The Owls, one of the owls simply says "It's true". The Conductor then questions the Owls on why they did it, they then say that they were playing cards in the lounge, and then reveal that they used a rubber knife on the Victim just because he chewed his gum with his mouth open.
If the murderer is The Victim
If you accuse the Victim, The Conductor thinks it is suicide, the Victim then gets up stands up, he then said it was his time to clean the Owl Express, and he just simply decided to fake his death with a rubber knife. He then says that he will clean the Owl Express after "Going through so much trouble".
If the murderer is Hat Kid
The Conductor will realize that it all made sense from the start; about how Hat Kid hated the progress society had made in transportation and she lashed out, killing an express owl she saw alone. The Conductor further says that the blood woke Hat Kid's inner demon, and drove her to eat the victims limbs one by one in a mad craze of bloodlust! The victim then discounts all of that, saying she just stuck a fake rubber knife on him and told him to play dead.
If Hat Kid finds no evidence
The game will provide the player with one case of evidence even if the player didn't pick any, the Conductor being the only culprit to choose as he is the first suspect that is identified once the player picks its first evidence (regardless of its location).The cut-scene is the same as if you would pick him normally and will unlock the "False detective" achievement.
The Conductor will reveal at the end of each option that the whole thing was staged, and that he was just getting footage for his next movie "Murder on the Owl Express" even though in some instances the context doesn't fit too well.
Regardless of who is accused, The Conductor will then give Hat Kid a Time Piece to collect, ending the level.
After each mission Hat Kid will write about it in her diary, which can be found in her room under the swimming pool of pillows. The diary will only read the entry for the last act that was completed.
"Y’know, there’s a lot of creepy… crow… type… things getting on this train, too. Actually, everyone getting on is acting real funny, even the Owls. And they’re harmless nerdy guys!
"I feel like something bad might happen since it feels so freaky, but the Conductor is definitely, um, how do I put this? “Loud”? “Pushy”? How about… “persuasive”. Anyway, gotta go catch a train!
- The music that plays when Hat Kid first enters the train is Relaxed Noir.
- The music that plays when the phone is ringing is The Phone's Ringing.
- The music that plays when Hat Kid is sneaking through the first half of the train is Who Dun It.
- The music that plays after entering the double doors at the top of the first wagon is Tick Tock.
- The music that plays when saving your pet's pet is Metal Bork.
Below is the list of achievements related to this act;
- This chapter gets its name from the detective novel Murder on the Orient Express.
- The Crows claiming to be Express Owls and calling Hat Kid a "fellow owl" is a nod to the G-Men in Psychonauts who do the same thing with Raz by repeatedly saying "Hello, fellow road crew worker."
- A group of crows is most commonly known as a "murder" of crows.
- Most Crow questions can be skipped; any dialogue that relied on these questions will use placeholders. Hat Kid's Uncle's Sister defaults to "AUNTIE", and Hat Kid's least favorite body part defaults to "BUTT". Amusingly and hypocritically, "BUTT" is on the list of words that award the "Why" achievement.
- The code on the blackboard that the player must type in for the crows says "DCB4ILOSE".
- This code can be translated to "Disconnect before I lose"
- The design of the blackboard showing the code is similar to reCAPTCHA, a program used to verify if you are human and prevent automated programs like bots from passing.
- On the background is a Periodic Table, possibly reminiscent to the prior designs of the Express Owls as Science Owls.
- The first forty elemental symbols spells out a message: "I WANTED TO MAKE A PUZZLE HERE BUT IT IS KINDA TOUGH AND THERE WAY TO. BLOCKS PLEASE SEND HELP".
- Other single or grouped quotes include:
- "TO SALTY"
- There are six elements with pips ranging from one to six, reminiscent of a dice.
- In Trainwreck of Science the Murderer was Cut character named Shapeshifter