21 - Main Story & Progression
In this bit of lost footage, you once more assume the role of Clancy Jarvis: Eternal Tormentee. Our Gehennesque task this time is to win a series of Blackjack games against another of Lucas' victims, while strapped into a variety of torture and dismemberment devices.
The first stage of the game is fairly normal (in gameplay, at least)- you both try to reach 21 without going over. A minor variation is that you are playing with an 11 card deck, which makes it much easier to guess at what your opponent has. Every time you win, Hoffman loses a finger (and vice versa), so you have to beat him five times.
The next stage has a few new twists. Firstly, you're hooked up to an electrocution rig now, but the dial goes up to 10, so you now have to rack up ten points to defeat Hoffman. Lucas will also start dealing you trump cards- magic little tiles that can allow you draw and swap cards, alter your bet, and cancel other tiles. Still, the essential nature of the game is unchanged, and you continue until you or Hoffman have died. Note that, if you do snuff it here, you can Retry at the beginning of this stage, rather than going all the way back to the finger-cutter.
If Hoffman dies first, Lucas uses him as a puppet for yet another game. In this case, the points measure which player a giant circular saw moves closer towards. Gameplay is normal, but at some point you'll be dealt the Love Your Enemy card. Save this for the end of the game.
Once you have Puppet-Hoffman on the ropes, he'll pull out a series of unfair cards that give him a perfect 21 and make this round instantly lethal to the loser. Counter with Love Your Enemy to put him over the top, and then rejoice in victory, which of course will mean even more torture, followed by your agonizing death. Woo-hoo.
You also get the Eye in the Sky achievement.
Survival mode is the same type of gameplay as the second stage above, but this time you have to make it through five games of the finger-chopping variety. Trump cards are in effect, and you can unlock new ones by performing in game feats (check the Rewards screen as 21 is loading for the complete list).
As you keep unlocking rewards, you'll be able to move through the game faster. The right card combos can see you winning matches in a single hand. So to speak.
You'll also note that 'Hoffman' undergoes a number of variations- made noticeable mainly by the different types of headsacks. Some of these can actually offer hints as to what trumps will be played against you (see the 21 enemies guide here).
The final match is against the Molded Halfhead Hoffman. The best counter to his Curse cards are Return and Exchange trumps. The latter in particular can be good in forcing him to bust.
Beating this mode unlocks the Card Shark achievement
Hopefully you aren't sick of blackjack yet, because there's plenty more to come. This time you have to defeat 10 enemies, and you're in the electric rig, so you need to score ten points against each. Sure, you'll have Two-Ups to help you along, but between draws and even the occasional loss, you're looking at about a hundred hands of blackjack, *if* you win on the first go, which you likely won't.
If you're comfortable with that, strap on in. The enemies now get progressively smarter, and their trumps cards level up. The actually enemy order is random, but fifth is always the Molded Halfhead, and the last is always Utensilhead (see our opponent guide for how to beat him, but mostly you'll want to stock up on Destroys).
Getting all the way to the end is an uphill climb, but even just playing will help you, as you learn the AI's strategems and unlock your own special trumps.
Beating this mode unlocks the You Gotta Know When to Hold 'Em achievement.