When the player is tempted to write a Java program to discover a Hamiltonian path through a maze, the maze is perhaps a bit too difficult.
– Matthew T. Russotto
There’s a lot of mazes. Acheton might hold the world record.
I’m going to spoil them thoroughly below.
I haven’t hit all of them in my current playthrough, but from memory there’s:
a.) The lodestone maze depicted in the map above. The “unique” trick here is the treasures are randomly arranged at the start of a game so a walkthrough needs to give a route that passes through every room (hence Matthew’s desire for a Hamiltonian path).
b.) An ice maze consisting only of two exit choices (SE and SW) but lots of deadly thin ice. The trick here is to take a (magical) item that will point in the correct direction to get to the single hidden treasure.
c.) A wizard’s maze with a start that involves going in circles trying every exit out of a room and returning to the start. After trying every door, the player enters the maze. The maze is generated at the moment it is entered. The way to get out is to use the same order of the exits tried before entering. It’s quite possible to get all the way through the maze without realizing this until the end. This marks (excluding the “room reassignment” used in Mystery Mansion as a memory cheat) the first adventure game with dynamic room generation.
d.) A maze with deadly snakes which I can only describe as a turn-based version of Pac-Man (although before Pac-Man was invented). Very tricky timing is involved.
e.) A fairly mundane hedge maze that you can burn down if you like. You might get tired of mazes and want to go ahead and destroy one.
f.) A section in the desert that might marginally be termed a “maze”. It’s based on a transport-based-on-limited-resource puzzles, rather like this one from Martin Gardner:
A group of airplanes is based on a small island. The tank of each plane holds just enough fuel to take it halfway around the world. Any desired amount of fuel can be transferred from the tank of one plane to the tank of another while the planes are in flight. The only source of fuel is on the island, and for the purposes of the problem it is assumed that there is no time lost in refueling either in the air or on the ground.
What is the smallest number of planes that will ensure the flight of one plane around the world in a great circle, assuming that the planes have the same constant ground speed and rate of fuel consumption and that all planes return safely to their island base?
(The Martin Gardner puzzle is incidentally top-flight and I’d recommend everyone giving it a go.)
In any case, the interactive fiction version requires wrangling water in the desert in appropriate places to avoid death.
g.) Was there another one? I don’t remember. I suppose I’ll find out.
In any case, the only maze I’d call “straight” would be the lodestone maze. It honestly isn’t that traumatic to map compared with that evil one from Adventure and the only reason I see the Hamiltonian path being necessary is that in order to optimize the number of turns (given the low life on the lamp compared with how many steps are needed) there is a good chance a game restart is needed somewhere. Still, once someone gets to the “cave” portion of the game they can just save, wander through using the map noting where all the treasures are, then restore and go only for the important rooms.