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Operator's Side, also known as Lifeline, was a PlayStation 2 game by Konami that attempted a new spin on the Survival Horror genre by making the player Mission Control. Set in the year 2029, it casts the player as a young man visiting a newly opened, state-of-the-art hotel inside an orbiting Space Station. After monsters crash the party, the player awakens inside the station's main control center, with no clue as to how he arrived there or where his girlfriend is.

However, using the ship's various cameras, he locates a survivor -- a cocktail waitress named Rio -- and contacts her via her headset. From there, the player must guide Rio through the monster-infested station, gradually unraveling the truth behind the incident.

Instead of controlling Rio directly via a gamepad, the user gives her commands over a USB headset, with scripted voice commands such as 'shoot [the] head (or other weak point), 'dodge left/right/back', 'turn left/right', 'stop', 'run' and so on. The player can also direct Rio during cutscenes, make small talk, and even restore her health by playing tongue twisters with her.

Unfortunately, the voice recognition system wasn't very well polished; Rio frequently misunderstood commands or acted inaccurately, and the player had to speak very calmly and clearly to be understood. Conversations were limited to simple nouns and verbs, which became very frustrating during the game's many puzzles. Ultimately, the game's potential was transformed by Game Breaking Bugs, poor design choices, and a Cliché Storm plot into a classically awful game.

Provides examples of:

  • And Your Reward Is Clothes: Tying into Rio's real role.
  • But Thou Must!: When you meet her, Rio asks you to remind her what your girlfriend's name is (Naomi); however, you're more than welcome to suggest other possibilities -- the game actually recognizes several different names, which Rio then echoes -- but she will just keep prompting you with more and more blunt pointers towards the right name until you get it right.
  • Cat Scare: Done several times, most notably with a music box.
  • Collection Sidequest: The sixteen chips.
    • Also various commands that can be found and then issued that don't have much value in advancing the game, such as "Sexy Pose".
  • The Dev Team Thinks of Everything: Surprisingly, quite a few commands/questions avoid breaking the fourth wall. The first such example is asking Rio how to open the door to the room she's stuck in, which she will give (completely useless to the player) instructions on how to activate the door.
  • Easter Egg: Very early on, when Rio forgets the name of your girlfriend, if you answer with the name of Rio's voice actress instead of "Naomi", she'll remark about how that name sounds familiar, but isn't the name of the girlfriend. Likewise, if you answer with Rio's own name, she wonders how you could possibly know it.
    • X-Play once found a rather interesting one-Adam, playing the game for the review and frustrated at Rio's particular brand of uncooperativeness, mutters "bark like a dog" into the microphone, and Rio responds, "Little dog, wuff wuff, or big dog, roof roof?" After the segment they actually went to the trouble to explain that no, they hadn't included it as a joke (which they were occasionally wont to do); it was actually part of the game.
  • Game Breaker: The Strafe combat command, which has Rio shoot random parts of the enemy, is the only break you get in combat for the game's shoddy-at-times voice recognition system.
  • Game Breaking Bug: One early puzzle involves reciting a three-part password: the player recites one part, Rio another, then both must recite the full phrase in unison. Unfortunately, the timing of this last part is frustratingly difficult to get down, and made worse by how the game doesn't recognize that the player is speaking if Rio is talking. Meaning the player has to, basically, trick the game into thinking you spoke in perfect unison, while actually reciting the phrase so that it can be "heard"...
  • Mission Control
  • Molotov Cocktail: Manages to turn into a plot point, when the player has to help Rio create one to destroy an alien blocking a hallway.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Rio.
  • New Game+
  • Nonstandard Game Over: When Rio very politely asks you to help her, saying no 3 times will result in Rio shooting the camera, walking out of the room, and dying off-screen.
  • Philosopher's Stone: Invented by Rio's father, and currently inside of Rio herself as a replacement for her heart. Imperfect copies of the Stone are responsible for transforming the humans aboard the hotel into alien monstrosities.
  • Puzzle Boss: One early boss involves watching a near-invincible monster's movement pattern and having Rio throw a homemade Molotov Cocktail at just the right moment. Get the timing wrong, or wait too long, and what follows isn't pleasant. [1]
  • The Scream: As Rio takes her machine gun to several canisters of copied Philosopher's stones.
  • So Bad It's Good: Along with the "unique" control scheme, it's the redeemable feature of this game.
  • Stop Helping Me!: Inverted; if you ever wanted to feel sympathy for Navi...
  • Third Person Seductress: Rio.
  • Voice with an Internet Connection: Inverted - you're the one talking here.
  • What the Hell, Player?: Rio gets pissed off if you swear at her. And you will.
  • You Can't Get Ye Flask: Made interesting by the game's verbal input system.


  1. The time limit factor is particularly annoying, given that she lights it before a fairly long cutscene where she reviews your plan yet again.
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