Adventure II: Painfully Close   6 comments

For some reason I missed the presence of a really nice online port of Adventure II that comes with a hand-drawn map. (Link here)

adv2newmap

In any case, the map above alerted me to a treasure I missed for rather silly reasons. I’m not sure if I should blame myself or the game. I’ll let you decide.

You might notice the “chalice” on the map. You find it from here:

YOU ARE IN A MAGNIFICENTLY ORNATE ROOM THAT LOOKS LIKE A PLACE OF WORSHIP FOR SOME OLD AND MYSTERIOUS RELIGION. THERE ARE EXITS TO THE NORTH, WEST AND EAST AND A SPIRAL STAIRCASE LEADING BOTH UP AND DOWN. THE CEILING OF THIS CHAPEL SEEMS TO BE MADE OF LARGE WOODEN BEAMS. HANGING FROM ONE OF THESE BEAMS IS A THICK ROPE.

I assumed UP would go up the rope, but that goes up the staircase instead. There’s an entirely different way to go up:

climb rope

YOU HAVE CLIMBED THE ROPE AND CRAWLED INTO A SMALL RECESS IN THE BEAMS.

A MAGNIFICENT INLAID CHALICE LIES HERE!

To be fair, I might have hit this section first in the z-code version, which has a bug that makes “climb rope” not work and require “climb” instead; I might have got frustrated and assumed I was going up the rope anyway. This is possible because of the odd characteristic of IF to have all forms of travel often “feel” the same, so going up a staircase and going up a rope have the same responsiveness.

In any case, I have gathered now what _seem_ to be all the treasures but I still don’t have the endgame triggering. I’m guessing I’m missing one? It might have to do with the cast of the game, which is worth examining in detail.

I. The Wizard

So one of the new puzzles is a room which has a treasure (a crystal orb) but has a slab that closes behind the player when they enter the room. (“AN ENTRANCE LEADS NORTH BUT IT IS BLOCKED BY A LARGE STONE SLAB.”)

With nothing else to do, I messed around with the crystal orb until I tried THROW ORB, and then…

THROUGH THE PORTCULLIS STEPS A TALL WIZARD CLOTHED IN GREY. “BE OFF!” HE COMMANDS, RAISING AN ARM. AS THE SCENE FADES HIS DISTANT VOICE CONTINUES “AND TAKE YOUR BELONGINGS WITH YOU!”.

YOU ARE IN A SECRET N/S CANYON ABOVE A LARGE ROOM.

A CRYSTAL ORB LIES HERE!

…did I solve that, or is it just something that happens?

After a few more attempts, it turns out it doesn’t matter — the wizard ejects you to safety no matter what you do. So this isn’t a puzzle, exactly. You just have to wait.

II. The Giant

“FEE FIE FOE FOO!” THE GIANT THUNDERS, AND AT THE THOUGHT OF FOO’ GREAT SLIVERS OF SALIVA ISSUE FROM THE GIANTS MOUTH AND FURTHER SOIL HIS ALREADY FILTHY SHIRT FRONT.

“STAY IN THERE UNTIL I AM READY TO EAT YOU!!” THE GIANT BELLOWS AND THROWS YOU INTO HIS DUNGEON.

YOU ARE IN A DUNGEON. THE WALLS AND CEILING APPEAR TO BE MADE OF SOLID ROCK AND THE FLOOR IS MADE UP OF TIGHTLY FITTING FLAGSTONES. HIGH ON THE WALLS ARE SOME STANCHIONS FOR CHAINS, BUT THE CHAINS ARE NO LONGER IN PLACE. THE ONLY SOUND, APART FROM YOUR OWN BREATHING, IS THE OCCASIONAL PLOP OF WATER AS IT DRIPS FROM THE CEILING. THE ATMOSPHERE IS DANK AND CLAMMY AND THERE IS AN UNUSUAL SMELL IN THE AIR. A PASSAGE LEADS BACK TO THE SOUTH.

After a little time the giant will grab and eat you, but there is a way out. Unfortunately, it involves abuse of the property that nothing in the descriptions seems to be usable by the parser … except for this:

get flagstone

THE FLAGSTONE LIFTS SUDDENLY AND YOU TOPPLE HEADLONG INTO THE DARKNESS BELOW.

YOU ARE IN A WINDING EARTHEN PASSAGE WHICH SLOPES DOWN TO THE SOUTH. THE LOWER END OF THE PASSAGE BECOMES NARROWER AND DAMP.

III. The Owl

THE LIGHT FROM YOUR LAMP DISTURBS AN ENORMOUS OWL WHICH FLIES OFF WITH A FLURRY OF WINGBEATS (AND A LOUD “HOOT”).

The only way to keep the owl from running away is to have your lamp off, but moving around with your lamp off gives a good chance you will fall in a pit and die. However, I discovered you can HOOT:

hoot

YOU HEAR A FLURRY OF WINGBEATS AND A LOUD “HOOT”.

That is, if you are near enough and you hoot the owl will come to you. If you’re in a room lit from some other source the owl just won’t enter.

IV. The Dwarves

I’ve already discussed the weird neatness habits of the dwarves, but there’s one more novel artifact that a dwarf will eventually drop: a little horn.

Using the horn, however, seems to be always fatal:

blow horn

THE LITTLE HORN EMITS A SURPRISINGLY LOUD SONOROUS NOTE.

AS THE NOTE DIES AWAY THE SOUND OF MANY HURRYING FOOTSTEPS BECOME APPARENT.

THERE ARE 4 THREATENING LITTLE DWARVES IN THE ROOM WITH YOU.
4 OF THEM THROW KNIVES AT YOU!

ONE OF THEM GETS YOU!

Ow? Perhaps blowing the horn at the right moment might make this survivable (I tried summoning the dwarves to the same room as the giant, but to no avail — and if one follows the player into the giant’s room, the giant ignores it anyway).

V. The Pirate

The pirate works exactly the same as classic Adventure — he takes treasures you are holding them and stashes them in the maze. This is required to happen so that his own treasure appears.

VI. The ???

I don’t know much about this one, but:

THERE ARE FAINT RUSTLING NOISES FROM THE DARKNESS BEHIND YOU.

I think whatever it is, it has a movement program like the dwarves do, because I once ran into the sound in adjacent rooms (as if I happened to go the same direction as the thing) but I haven’t seen any in-game effect like items getting stolen. Maybe it’s just for atmosphere?

(ADD: Scott Healey cleared this one up in the comments. It’s a message for when the pirate is close.)

In any case, I’m sadly suspecting what I’m missing is not some interesting character interaction, but a single pesky room or action (like I was doing with the chalice). I’m going to go finish-or-bust at this point and say if I post about Adventure II again, it’s because I won; otherwise this posting will be the end.

Adventure International cover from their 1981 catalog

Adventure International’s cover from their 1981 catalog, via Gaming After 40. I’ve never even heard of the existence of this Adventure International product until today.

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Posted December 18, 2015 by Jason Dyer in Interactive Fiction

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6 responses to “Adventure II: Painfully Close

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  1. I say that one is on you–since there’s “A SPIRAL STAIRCASE LEADING BOTH UP AND DOWN” I would expect “up” to take you up the stairs.

    • It’s an interesting question, really. If the design was slightly different it wouldn’t have happened, and clearly it wasn’t intended as a puzzle (the chalice is just right there in the open), but for all the weird stumbles in design Adventure II has (like the flagstone bit, which is ridiculous) this doesn’t feel like one either.

      Still, after reading The Design of Everyday Things I keep a careful watch on this sort of thing. How much responsibility is on the user when better design can fix the problem? (The book argues pretty convincingly, for instance, the Three Mile Island accident was a result of bad design rather than user error.)

      • Yes, things would probably be made easier in a more modern style where we expect lots of synonyms–to be clear I think that’s good and reasonable expectation, we’ve learned to improve our design by implementing more ways to do the same thing. And looking at the map it seems like one problem might be that UP takes you to “Above Chapel,” which sounds like where’d you go if you climbed the rope.

        It may be a sign of how subconsciously traumatized I was by Zork III that my thought on reading that room description was “pull rope” rather than “climb rope.”

  2. That sounds kind of jerky, doesn’t it? I also understand how someone who has been battling an old-school adventure game might easily get snarled there. Even in Zork III I got completely befuddled by a rope.

  3. Thanks for linking to my website http://www.gobberwarts.com. The hand-drawn map’s originally by Ralph Witt and Dave Platt. I just adapted it for the versions of Colossal Cave on my site.

    By the way the following is displayed when you’re one room or so away from the pirate:

    THERE ARE FAINT RUSTLING NOISES FROM THE DARKNESS BEHIND YOU.

  4. Pingback: Adventure 430: Failure to Visualize | Renga in Blue

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