This article is about the case. For the location, see Nicholson Electroplating Plant.
|Plot details follow, read at your own risk.|
- "All units, all units...reports of an explosion... Location...not sure of location, it's south of Santa Monica, west of...uh... stand by for further."
- ―KGPL broadcast
Nicholson Electroplating is an Arson case in L.A. Noire. It is the first downloadable content pack for the game. The first 16 customers who bought a copy of L.A. Noire at one of Best Buy's midnight openings received a code to obtain this downloadable content when it released. "Nicholson Electroplating" was released on June 21, 2011. It was later included in the Complete Edition for PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and PC.
"At 9:45 in the morning, a thunderous explosion rocks Los Angeles. City blocks are flattened and smoke and ash fill the air. Detectives Phelps and Biggs race to the site of the former Nicholson Electroplating plant to find a pile of unanswered questions. What caused the explosion? What were Nicholson's employees working on? And where is chief chemist Dr. Harold McLellan and his mysterious female assistant?"
Achievements and Trophies
- The Big Unfriendly
- The Nose Knows
- Skeletons In The Icebox
- Bulletproof Windshield
- Out Of The Frying Pan
The case begins with Phelps and Biggs discussing the whereabouts of Jack Kelso, currently the subject of a State-wide APB (no mention is made of Elsa Lichtmann and her kidnapping, nor of the death of Harlan Fontaine, as this case begins during "A Polite Invitation," presumably after Cole has visited Jack's office but before the shootout at Monroe's house). Suddenly, a huge explosion, complete with mushroom cloud, occurs a few blocks away. Biggs at first thinks the Soviets have launched an H-bomb at Los Angeles.
Drive to the direction where the explosion came from; you can see smoke rising to the sky. Be careful not to run over panicking pedestrians or get hit by speeding cars. (Also note the unusually chaotic transmissions from KGPL; for a few moments it almost appears as if Biggs is right) After arriving two armed looters will welcome your arrival. Chase them and gun them down.
You then arrive at the remains of an industrial plant for Nicholson Electroplating. Walk through the entrance and look up to your right to see a water tower collapsing (this is background action, not a cutscene). Approaching Ray Pinker triggers a cutscene explaining the scenario, in particular the fact it was not a nuclear explosion, obviously, but some form of major industrial accident. Biggs and Phelps are ordered to scour the area for clues.
This is a very large crime scene. Begin by following the path of destruction past the mayor, who can be seen giving an interview to a TV news crew.
- Airplane Part: You will come across a fork in the rubble past the mayor. Turn to the right and Officer Ralph Dunn will call you over saying he thinks that he's found something. Phelps will pick up one half of the part and try to match it with the second half, successfully match up the letters to get the clue and unlock the The Nose Knows achievement/trophy.
- Laundry Tag: doubling back to the fork in the debris, continue straight and almost immediately you will be alerted to a clue which happens to be a piece of ripped shirt with a laundry tag. Note: if you hang around the area for a while and still don't see the clue, your partner, Herschel Biggs, will call you over.
- Past the piece of shirt with a laundry tag, you will be called on by an officer to look at a burned locker containing an intact briefcase. Phelps will open the briefcase and four clues will be present:
- Spy Camera which indicates espionage
- Ornate golden ball or earring
- Business card with the name Tomoko Okamoto
- Undeciphered message and decoder apparatus. To decipher the message, you must first align the cipher rings by aligning the H in the outer ring with the K in the inner ring. Then turn the outer ring to the letters in the message. The first letter in the message, K, will decipher as N, keep rotating the outer ring to the remaining letters; KSBOJLKQ XSB. Correct letters will appear in the top left of the screen. The Clue reads "133 N. Vermont Ave."
- Bodies: Inspect the covered bodies on stretchers located by the coroner and the ambulance.
Head back towards your vehicle and you will encounter Fred Nicholson, owner of Nicholson Electroplating.
Fred Nicholson Interrogation
|Nicholson Plant Explosion||Doubt|
|Whereabouts of Okamoto||Lie||Espionage/Spy camera|
|Whereabouts of McLellan||Doubt|
After the interview drive your vehicle out of the disaster zone; you should find a gamewell around the corner. Make a call to the operator, and Phelps requests information regarding the piece of airplane equipment that you found as well as the address for Superior Laundry Services.
You can choose to either first drive to Okamoto's apartment, which is the deciphered address, or to the laundry service; it doesn't matter in which order you do this.
Apartment of Okamoto
Shown as Deciphered Address in Locations. Once you arrive you will notice that the apartment's door is open and someone has turned the place upside down.
- Ring, Watch And POI: open the refrigerator and a dead body falls out. Inspect both hands to find the ring and watch. Also you will need to tilt the victim's head to the right for a new Person of Interest: "John Doe".
- Tie Pin: on the floor next to the fireplace
- Blood Splatter leading to bedroom
- Microfilm: in the back room next to the bed is a dresser type thing, there will be another golden ball, when attached (automatically) to the one you found at the crime scene, you get the microfilm.
At this point Biggs will automatically call in to the station to report your findings. If you have already been to Superior Laundry Services, Phelps can then use the phone to also call in (see below).
Superior Laundry Services
Go to Superior Laundry in Melrose. View the customer log listing laundry tag information. Herschel Biggs will remind you that the number on the tag you found was J2620. Tap on said number for new person of interest, Oscar Hangstrom. A dead end.
Use the phone near the front door of the shop. If you have already been to the apartment, Dispatch puts you through to Ray Pinker who discovers the part is a prop spinner and that Hughes Aircraft's Spruce Goose runs eight Wasp R-4360's. You also ask the operator for information regarding Oscar Hangstrom but there is no information regarding such person. Note: if you go to the apartment second, you will only ask about Hangstrom at this point and will call in about the airplane part at the apartment.
After visiting both locations, it is time to go find out more about the airplane part; go to the new address: Hughes Aircraft.
You arrive to what appears to be a huge airplane hangar but the MP will stop you at the front gate. Apparently you don't have the clearance to get inside, but luckily your partner is friends with Vernon Mapes, a retired cop and now head of security for Howard Hughes, who conveniently arrives a few moments later. Follow him to the large hangar to find the H-4 Hercules (nicknamed the Spruce Goose). After the pleasantries you get to interrogate Mapes.
Vernon Mapes Interrogation
|Nicholson Plant Explosion||Doubt|
|Knowledge of Okamoto||Doubt|
|Knowledge of McLellan||Lie||Prop Spinner|
After the interrogation you get to look around. The airplane can also be looked around inside.
- Linseed Oil: at the nose of the plane are 3 barrels of Linseed Oil which is used to coat the inside of the prop spinners to prevent oxidization (as the mechanic tells you later)
- Navigation Note: climb up the ladder inside the plane, it's on a pinboard to the right.
- Bahamas: turn around and on the right side you will see a navigation machine, input 7600 longitude, 2415 latitude
- Prop Spinner: you will find the mechanic on the outside, rear end of the plane. There will be a bay of three engines, and he is tending to one. This will trigger a cutscene and an inside look at the prop spinner of one of the engines.
- Photograph/ Unknown Address: head up into Mapes' Office, above the hangar exit, it's on a desk against the right wall (2 pictures, one of singer/actress Marie 'The Body' McDonald, the other of Mapes and Marie at an 'Unknown Address.'
Wilshire Police Department
Now head back to the police station. Go downstairs to Tech Services and talk to Ray Pinker. Investigate the photos from the spy camera carefully. After this, Ray will ask you to help in an (optional) experiment. After this bit of excitement is over check the other side of the desk where the earlier photos were placed to examine the microfilm image to get a clue Aluminum Polishing Patent. This is the microfilm found in Tomoko's apartment and is the patent for the aluminum polishing process. This is needed in order to collect all clues and a 5 star case rating - it is easy to overlook because a) the usual "clue music" does not play during this sequence and b) the game inserts a distraction between examining one set of images and then the microfilm. Upon completion, head to the location discovered in the photos.
House in Photograph
Head to the house via car. Upon entering the house, you will discover gas cans littering the floor. On the table across from the bed, you will discover an airline ticket and passport. The passport belongs to Oscar Hangstrom but the picture is actually of Harold McLellan, they are one and the same. Upon investigating the passport fully, Mapes will set the house on fire. Shoot the gas tank next to the stove to get out alive.
Chase Mapes back to the hangar. Along the way, you will have to avoid or take down MPs. If you successfully chase Mapes all the way back to the hangar on your first attempt, you will get the Out of the Frying Pan achievement/trophy. If you fail the case during the chase segment at all, you can dashboard (XBOX 360) and load the game from the last save, if you are in the screen where it says "Case Failed - You Lost Mapes" and you can still get the achievement after loading. To get the Bulletproof Windshield achievement/trophy, you will have to kill the drivers of two of the four incoming MP cars before the drivers exit their cars. Upon getting to the hangar, you will initiate a shootout. After you kill all enemies, watch a short cutscene as Captain McKelty congratulates Phelps and Biggs. He says he doesn't know if it will do him any good, but Phelps may have just solved the case of the decade. Afterwards, the case will be closed.
- "McLellan and Okamoto might never be heard from again, but neither will Vernon Mapes."
- "Completing Pinker's chemical experiment might have added more weight to the case file."
If you visit the Laundromat after the Deciphered Address, and then use the phone in the Laundromat, Phelps will occasionally act like he is using a gamewell. Also, Phelps' dialogue may be hard to hear, due to loud sounds from the washing machines and the camera seems to be further away as if you were meant to be using a gamewell during this call instead of a regular phone.
- Chief William Worrell can be seen in the Nicholson Electroplating Plant, he seems to wonder why Cole has not been suspended, although he has been demoted to Arson for a while.
- In the cutscene where Ray asks you to help with his "experiment," Malcolm Carruthers can be seen in the background walking in to the lab and quickly hiding behind a counter, since Ray pulled the same trick on him earlier.
- Be careful during the car chase. You could find all clues and answer every question correctly, but causing too much damage could cost you a 5-star rating.
- You can "free roam" with guns in this case. After chasing Mapes back to the Hughes Aircraft hangar, a short cutscene ensues. When it's finished, free to leave the area and go anywhere in the game with your weapons, without risk of failing the mission.
- During the trailer, McKelty shouts at Phelps and Biggs inside the hangar, suggesting there is an alternate ending, however, no evidence of it can be found in-game, so it would seem it was scrapped.
- If you go past the suitcase clue at the explosion sight, there is a Bible and body parts next to it. An arm can be examined.
- The case is loosely based on the real-life 1947 explosion of O'Connor Electro-plating, south of downtown Los Angeles, which was caused by a perchloric acid reaction. Information about the real case and the scene as it appears today on the 1947 project time travel blog.
- The Mayor of L.A. and the Chief of Police are both featured in the case, and can be seen at the Nicholson Electroplating Plant remains at the start of the case.
- The television crew seen at the Plant contains numerous historical inaccuracies and oversights by the developers. The call letters printed on the van, W4XYZ, were assigned to an experimental television station in Hollywood that was licensed in 1939 and signed on in 1942, but in January 1947 W4XYZ became the first non-experimental station west of the Mississippi and changed its callsign to KTLA, which it still uses today. The camera has a nameplate reading "WRC-TV Channel 4," which are the call letters and channel position for the NBC affiliate in Washington, D.C. WRC wasn't known as WRC until 1954. It signed on as experimental station W3XNB and recieved the calls WNBW in June 1947, during the period that L.A. Noire takes place. This is likely an oversight bt the developers, as there is no reason for a small local station from the east coast to be in Los Angeles.
- Like many things in L.A. Noire, even the television station's van and camera signage were sourced from real life.
- There seems to be a historical inaccuracy with one of Bigg's statements at the begining of the case. During the explosion of the plant, Bigg's states "Do you think those Russki sons of bitches dropped the H-bomb on us?" L.A. Noire takes place during 1947, and though the idea of the of the hydrogen bomb was suggested in 1941, serious developement did not occur until the early 1950s, with the first detonation, Condename "Ivy Mike," occuring on Novemeber 1, 1952. However, Ivy Mike was of American origin, not Russian. The first Russian test, Codename RDS-6, occurred on August 12, 1953. It could be likely that the developers accidently confused the H-Bomb with the A-Bomb, however, the first Russian nuclear test did not occur until August 29, 1949.
- This is the only mission in which a NPC possesses one of the Hidden Cars. The head of security for Hughes Aircraft, Vernon Mapes, has a Tucker Torpedo, which you can take after investigating the hangar. Coincidentally (or not), a Tucker Torpedo is also parked in the hidden vehicle garage across the street from the explosion site.
- As with most destroyed buildings, you can examine the intact building by going "back in time" and visiting the site via Free Roam; note that you cannot access the interior area of Nicholson Electroplating until the front of the building is destroyed.
- This is the only time in the game you get to visit the interior of the Hughes hangar and the Spruce Goose, as both are off-limits in Free Roam.
- Several Nash Deluxe 600 Army cars are parked on the Hughes Aircraft site; this, along with the military training base in Boyle Heights, are the only places where they can be unlocked for the Auto Fanatic achievement. Fortunately, the cars are always parked here, even outside of the mission.
- The woman in the two photos in Vernon Mapes' Hughes Aircraft office is real-life Hollywood actress Marie McDonald.
- Although it's not necessary for clue-finding or progressing the mission, it's possible to climb the scaffolding and walk along the top of the Spruce Goose.
- ↑ http://www.xbox360achievements.org/news/news-8379-L-A--Noire-s-First-DLC-Pack-Outed.html
- ↑ http://www.xbox360achievements.org/news/news-8409-L-A--Noire-s--Nicholson-Electroplating--Arson-Case-DLC-Dated.html