7-1: GARDEN OF FORKING PATHS (2024)

For more information about other missions, see Levels

Homing projectiles may be more difficult to dodge, but their tracking and slower speed make them much easier to parry.

- The Tip of the Day.

GARDEN OF FORKING PATHS is the first of the four missions of the VIOLENCE layer, and the first level of ACT III. It takes place in a giant marble labyrinth fencing the inner circles of the Violence layer.

Contents

  • 1 Major Areas
    • 1.1 Blanche Cemetery
    • 1.2 Labyrinth
      • 1.2.1 Final Page
    • 1.3 Triple Stairwell
    • 1.4 Center of the Labyrinth
    • 1.5 Even More Stairs
    • 1.6 Express Tram to Hell
    • 1.7 Final Stop
  • 2 Ranking Requirements
  • 3 Secrets
    • 3.1 Challenge
  • 4 Trivia
    • 4.1 Secrets, Easter Eggs, and references
    • 4.2 Lore
    • 4.3 Development
    • 4.4 Other
  • 5 Gallery

Major Areas[]

Blanche Cemetery[]

A cemetery, covered in a layer of either ash or snow. Many cross-shaped tombstones and four white trees stand next to the white path placed directly in front of the elevator. The path leads to a door that opens to the Labyrinth.

Labyrinth[]

A big white marble building, with the entrance having a cross of the Tree Of Life next to it on both sides. The interior is very reminiscent of the Developer Museum, using some of the same textures.

When approaching the left door in the first hall, it shuts itself before you can enter, forcing the player to move on to the next room where several Mannequins stand seemingly motionless inside hitting the sickest looking JoJo poses. That is, until you make the wrong move.

In front of a closed door, an empty red skull pedestal is hidden under the floor, it rises up when approached. Once returned to the hall from which the player came from, the door leading to the cemetery will be shut as well, leaving the door which grants access to a book and button open. Pressing the button allows the player to enter the previously blocked off room, where a checkpoint can be activated. The interior is filled with many Mannequins in various poses and a Red Skull replacing the head of a praying Mannequin behind bars. After taking the skull and turning around, the player will be met with every Mannequin facing their way, making most people (including my sorry ass) sh*t their pants.

These Mannequins in this area thankfully do not attack and allow the player to proceed through the level further.

Final Page[]

MOST TEXT: INCOMPREHENSIBLE.DISPLAYING FINAL PAGE:

The unending halls of the Garden! Ah, so dutifully decorated by the cross, the symbol that angels use for the Tree of Life. They praise their beloved Father who had planted it and filled us with the dew of its leaves and the nectar of its fruit, that which gives us life, courses through our veins...

For you however, our truth: Our bodies are not a vessel for the blood of the fruit, but its prison. The beautiful guts and gorgeous bone YEARN to be shown and seen! SPLAYED! Under the divine cross of the Tree of Life, we pay it tribute through the art of violence.

THE WORLD IS YOUR CANVAS

SO TAKE UP YOUR BRUSH

AND PAINT

THE WORLD

R E D .

Upon returning to the red pedestal room, the previously dormant mannequins awaken, attacking the player. If you hadn't shat your pants before, you'd most likely sh*t 'em now. Placing the red skull upon the pedestal unlocks the door directly behind it, allowing access to the rest of the level.

Triple Stairwell[]

The previously locked door reveals a stairwell connecting to a hallway containing another stairwell with an elevated bridge running across the middle. In this second stairwell, two Mannequins are positioned on each side of both the exit and entrance to the room, though they do not move. Instead, four Mannequins standing under the bridge become active, forcing the player to defeat them before moving further.

Once the four mannequins have been disposed of, the player enters a third, much larger stairwell, this time consisting of a long spiral staircase and a blue Skull placed upon its pedestal straight ahead of the entrance. A blue Hookpoint is also present, floating in the center of the staircase. Entering this room activates three Mannequins climbing the walls and spawns a Virtue.

Center of the Labyrinth[]

Once the blue Skull is placed on the second blue pedestal, the path opens up to a previously closed hallway that leads to a lobby with a doorway on each side, decorated with many pillars with a third blue Skull pedestal in front of the door ahead and featuring four posing Mannequins displayed in the center of the lobby. If the player moves close enough to said pedestal, The Minotaur will burst out of the right-side doorway and run into the left-side entrance, decimating the Mannequins and breaking down the doors in its path. The center now also becomes a Checkpoint.

Following the Minotaur's rampage, the player enters a room similar to the second stairwell earlier in the level, this time also featuring two Cerberus statues and a small pool under the bridge. Upon entry, four Mannequins and a Malicious Face spawn. One Cerberus becomes active after either the Malicious Face or two Mannequins are killed, and the other after any two enemies, bar the first Cerberus are killed.

Killing all the enemies in this room opens up a way back to the spiral staircase, allowing the player to take the blue Skull used earlier and backtrack to the pedestal in the lobby, opening the way forward.

Even More Stairs[]

Following the unlocked door, the player enters another spiral staircase leading downward, causing two Streetcleaners and a Mannequin to spawn on the way.

The staircase terminates in the largest stairwell of the level yet, consisting of three open floors with a blue Hookpoint in the middle and featuring a pool of water and a door, locked behind another blue Skull pedestal at the very bottom. Entering this room causes three Mannequins and a Virtue to spawn. Upon the first enemy being killed, two Drones and a second Virtue will also spawn, followed by a Mindflayer spawning when either the second Virtue or two Mannequins are killed.

Once the room has been cleared, the door on the top floor opens, leading back to the area from which the Minotaur first entered, allowing the player to take the Blue Skull from the lobby room and place it in the previous stairwell via backtracking.

Express Tram to Hell[]

This door leads to a deep hole in the ground. Jumping into the hole, the player lands in a winding, dark hallway which ends in another hole they must jump into. This time, they end up on a railway with a Checkpoint, a cart already on the tracks, waiting for them. Interacting with the terminal on the cart causes it to start moving on the rails.

After a few seconds, the railway opens up to three sets of tracks, and moments after that, a second cart carrying three Strays arrives from the front and stops adjacent to the left of the player's cart. After that, a third cart arrives, this time from behind and carrying three Soldiers and stopping on the right side of the player.

A fourth cart then appears driving directly behind the player, this time carrying two Schisms and a Soldier. However soon after, the Minotaur returns, appearing behind the cart and destroying it with its hammer, initiating a chase sequence. The train tracks loop and do not reach their destination until the Minotaur is defeated.

Final Stop[]

Once the Minotaur is defeated, the carts arrive at the end of the railway, which is a subway station, featuring another stairwell leading to the final room, a narrow hallway adorned with pillars ending with the exit. Upon reaching the midpoint of the hallway, the Minotaur bursts through the left wall, beginning the second and final phase of its boss battle.

Once the player finally kills the Minotaur, the exit opens and the player is allowed to finish the level. The level's timer will stop the moment the Minotaur's health is fully depleted.

Ranking Requirements[]

RankKillsTimeStyle
S516:4017,000
A487:3015,000
B4010:0010,000
C2015:005,000

Secrets[]

Secrets
#17-1: GARDEN OF FORKING PATHS (1)7-1: GARDEN OF FORKING PATHS (2)(Soul Orb) In the room that opens after triggering the Red Skull pedestal, look above the door and you should see a small ledge. Jump up onto the ledge and you will find the Orb directly above.
#27-1: GARDEN OF FORKING PATHS (3)(Soul Orb) In the room with the button Labeled Alpha, there is a small gap underneath the platform which V1 can slide into.
#37-1: GARDEN OF FORKING PATHS (4)7-1: GARDEN OF FORKING PATHS (5)(Soul Orb) Found in the room with the large water body beneath a bridge, the orb is in a secret passage in the water.
#47-1: GARDEN OF FORKING PATHS (6)(Blood Orb) In the area where the minotaur charged from, on the roof on V1's left. Grabbing the orb will cause the two Cerberi on the roof to come alive. Both Cerberi are double the size, white colored with white orbs and have 44 health, which is double the health of normal Cerberi. These are the largest living Cerberi in the game, even larger than the 0-5 Cerberi.
#57-1: GARDEN OF FORKING PATHS (7)(Soul Orb) In the same open area, there is a catwalk at the back end of the room. The left door on the upper catwalk contains a secret and a depiction of the headless Mannequin with a blue skull on its head, which is a hint towards the secret encounter.

Challenge[]

BEAT THE SECRET ENCOUNTER


After grabbing the Blue Skull, backtrack to the Headless Mannequin and place the blue skull on it. A section of the wall will open up. After going downstairs, V1 meets the one and only Big Johninator. After killing him, the floor will open up and reveal a slab that reads:

"Dead end after dead end. Is there really no way out?

Get lost in the labyrinth, die in the battlefield, or get lost in the forest...

I thought I saw a way out there, a gate covered by foliage... But even with all our strength we couldn't get through.

I doubt there's any blade sharp enough to cut the vines, and no fire we've tried has been hot enough... It's possible that those flamethrower wielding machines might be able to burn through it, but their weapons become unusable when they die."

7-1: GARDEN OF FORKING PATHS (8)

Trivia[]

Secrets, Easter Eggs, and references[]

  • This level is named after "The Garden of Forking Paths", a short story by Jorge Luis Borges following a spy during the first World War as he learns about his famous ancestor's plan to construct a labyrinthine novel which covers the full range of possible branching timelines its story can go through.
  • The names of the level's soundtracks, "The World Looks White" and "The World Looks Red", are a reference to the Swans song "The World Looks Red / The World Looks Black".
  • The crossing out of the boss name "Minotaur", and the crossing out in red text of its terminal data, is a reference to Mark Z. Danielewski's book, House of Leaves. Wherein every mention of the Minotaur in Danielewski's book is crossed out due to, as some interpret it, an expression of artists desiring to destroy their own work.[1]
  • The level seems to be inspired by the Labyrinth from Greek mythology, an elaborate, confusing structure created by the architect Daedalus to keep the Minotaur trapped, similarly to ULTRAKILL.
  • If you noclip through the rummage to the right of the door the Minotaur broke down, you'll see a squished, armored Hakita plush with the words "LIVE HAKITA REACTION" above it.
    • Touching this instance of Hakita will grant one an instant death, be it the player or an enemy.
      • When enemies touch Hakita, their death can have some odd interactions with Style: it usually (but doesn't always) grants the +AIRSHOT style bonus, even if the enemy was grounded, except for both V2s, both Cancerous Rodents, the MDK, the Hideous Mass and Puppets. Additionally, Guttermen don't have a unique death animation if killed through this method.
    • This is probably in reference to the popular community meme "LIVE PANOPTICON REACTION".
      • The "LIVE PANOPTICON REACTION" meme is itself a variant of the "LIVE _ REACTION" meme, which began on March 11, 2021, when then-Fox-News host Tucker Carlson presented a facecam of himself, under the bright red and white caption "LIVE TUCKER REACTION," in reaction to current-US-President Joe Biden's speech on COVID-19 relief. The bewildered expression of Carlson, and the adaptability of the format, made the meme popular near-instantly in many communities, including this one.

Lore[]

  • It is implied that this level is outside the circles of Violence and is more like an event horizon into the layer.[2]
  • When opening the terminal to read info on the Minotaur, it's stated to have no data or info on it whatsoever, implying that the encrypted and censored red text that was shown was spoken by either Hell itself or some other entity.

Development[]

  • In an older version of the level, the blue skull was placed on the decapitated Mannequin, and the red skull presumably would have been used throughout the level, however, the skulls were swapped. Why this was changed is currently unknown. It could be that this was done to hint towards the secret challenge of the level, which is to bring the blue skull back to the mannequin, to players who may have seen the progress videos.
  • Originally, mannequins were white. In response to concerns that they would blend too much in the level's background, they added red color to mannequins. In response to concerns that levels would turn into mixture of white and red and thus mannequins blending in to the environment again, Hakita made the level darken to grey during combat.
  • The button in this level has the "α" symbol, as originally there were more buttons (such as "β") planned.

Other[]

  • Along with [7-4: ...LIKE ANTENNAS TO HEAVEN], this level is one of the two with no upper limit on kills. The player can stall in the rail chase with the Minotaur indefinitely, farming the Strays that appear on new railcars.
  • Despite no visible flashbang, there is a blindingly bright light at the beginning of this level.
    • It is possible that the level is always this bright, and V1 simply reduces the sensitivity of it's camera after first observing the brightness of the level, in order to make it possible to see.
  • If you shoot at the mannequins in the room with a hidden red pedestal, any projectile will ricochet off them. However, if you shoot at each of them, they will start changing poses but not show signs of aggression.
  • Inactive mannequins have a glitch that causes them to change poses if you look at them from an odd angle (getting up close at them and then looking up, roughly at their forehead). This is likely because the script (or trigger, or however it's called) that checks whether they're in your field of view or not has a blind spot, which causes the game to think you aren't looking at them despite the fact you are.
  • Once V1 grabs the red skull, the room of mannequins reduces from 140 to 52. What fun!
    • If you return to the red skull room after getting the blue skull (most likely to activate the Big Johninator encounter), all the mannequins will be gone. This is most likely because they've moved out of the room and throughout the level. (or the whole layer, since you encounter far less than 140 of them throughout the level)
  • After the Minotaur charges through the group of Mannequins, it is possible to enter the next arena fast enough to where the Minotaur will run into and instakill the Malicious Face that spawns directly in its path.
  • if you don't go on the tram car, the Minotaur and the three-way tram, exit, and enemies won't spawn, and it will generate a new rail forever.
    • This is because it's just one short section of rail that teleports you to its start once you go through it.
  • If you try to jump off the tram car before it reaches the triple rail section, you'll be stopped by an invisible wall.
  • if you noclip after the Minotaur utterly destroys those poor mannequins, he will run in air for a while, then stop and hover while still having the screen shake effect and running animation.
  • This is the first level where Cerberi with white orbs are fought. They were encountered in [1-4: CLAIR DE LUNE] but remained inactive.
    • These Cerberi are noticably larger and tankier than normal.
  • The red skull initially spawns on the red pedestal but when the button is pressed the pedestal changes into the decapitated mannequin.
    • Grabbing the red skull with noclip while its still on a pedestal and then pressing the button, the pedestal will change into the mannequin with a fresh new red skull.
  • Upon reaching the room with the button for the first time, the Minotaur's roar can be heard faintly
  • Dropping down into the Tram ride to Hell will make The World Looks Red stop. However, this can be prevented by not landing on the crushable tiny pyramid (the second pyramid will also make TWLR stop, so avoid that too). The walls can't be slid down on, so dashing will help minimize the speed of your fall to avoid landing on it. When you avoid landing on it, The World Looks Red will still continue to play, even over the First and Second phases of Bull of Hell.
  • Prior to the Full Arsenal update, the slab detailing how to unlock 7-S had a different final line, reading "I doubt there's any blade sharp enough to cut the vines, and the only fire that could burn through it would need to be hot enough to melt metal...". This text was likely changed to the current passage in order to make the intended solution of using one of the level's Streetcleaners more clear, since the Firestarter Rocket Launcher (also added in the Full Arsenal update, which can, indeed, allow fires to affect machine enemies and 'melt metal' via gasoline) is not capable of burning through the aforementioned vines - prior to the weapon's introduction, there was no source of 'melting metal' outside of enemies damaging V1 (with only Streetcleaners and Virtues capable of destroying the vines barring the player from reaching 7-S), so there was no inconsistency in the passage.

Gallery[]

A room full of Mannequins accosting the player after collecting the blue skull.

Hakita revealing the concept of Violence to Dave Oshry, and Big Dave absolutely loving it.

Locked door variations, drawn by Andrei Mishchenko.

Cross texture variations.

Missions
PRELUDE
OVERTURE:
THE MOUTH
OF HELL

Intro ///0-1: INTO THE FIRE ///0-2: THE MEATGRINDER ///0-3: DOUBLE DOWN ///0-4: A ONE-MACHINE ARMY ///0-5: CERBERUS ///0-S: SOMETHING WICKED

ACT I: INFINITE HYPERDEATH
LAYER 1:
LIMBO

1-1: HEART OF THE SUNRISE ///1-2: THE BURNING WORLD ///1-3: HALLS OF SACRED REMAINS ///1-4: CLAIR DE LUNE ///1-S: THE WITLESS

LAYER 2:
LUST

2-1: BRIDGEBURNER ///2-2: DEATH AT 20,000 VOLTS ///2-3: SHEER HEART ATTACK ///2-4: COURT OF THE CORPSE KING ///2-S: ALL-IMPERFECT LOVE SONG

LAYER 3:
GLUTTONY

3-1: BELLY OF THE BEAST ///3-2: IN THE FLESH

ACT II: IMPERFECT HATRED
LAYER 4:
GREED

4-1: SLAVES TO POWER ///4-2: GOD DAMN THE SUN ///4-3: A SHOT IN THE DARK ///4-4: CLAIR DE SOLEIL ///4-S: CLASH OF THE BRANDICOOT

LAYER 5:
WRATH

5-1: IN THE WAKE OF POSEIDON ///5-2: WAVES OF THE STARLESS SEA ///5-3: SHIP OF FOOLS ///5-4: LEVIATHAN ///5-S: I ONLY SAY MORNING

LAYER 6:
HERESY

6-1: CRY FOR THE WEEPER ///6-2: AESTHETICS OF HATE

ACT III: GODFIST SUICIDE
LAYER 7:
VIOLENCE

7-1: GARDEN OF FORKING PATHS ///7-2: LIGHT UP THE NIGHT ///7-3: NO SOUND, NO MEMORY ///7-4: ...LIKE ANTENNAS TO HEAVEN ///7-S: HELL BATH NO FURY

LAYER 8:
FRAUD

8-1:??? ///8-2:??? ///8-3:??? ///8-4:??? ///8-S:???

LAYER 9:
TREACHERY

9-1:??? ///9-2:???

PRIME SANCTUMS

P-1: SOUL SURVIVOR /// P-2: WAIT OF THE WORLD /// P-3:???

7-1: GARDEN OF FORKING PATHS (2024)

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