Sorcerer’s Castle Adventure: Finished!   2 comments

From the Captain.

From Robert Liddil’s Captain 80 Book of Basic Adventures.

I have reached a glorious 225 out of 225 points by depositing all the treasures in the area just outside the castle door. This took some searching because this is not the room you start at, nor does it seem like the most logical place to store a treasure, so I had to wander the map a bit and do >DROP OPAL >SCORE >TAKE OPAL in each room until I found the right one.

sorend

It also remains for me to do the celebratory dance, as there is no ending message. Some trivia about the game’s characters before my final analysis:

The Knight: I mentioned earlier that the knight is defeated by a shot from a gold pistol. It’s also possible to simply luck out.

sorscreen3

This is fortunate because the knight can reappear after being defeated, a fact I only found out near the end of my run when I had ditched my gold pistol already to have more room for treasures.

The Pirate: The pirate from Adventure makes yet another appearance here and behaves identically: he takes your treasures and stashes them in the maze. However, on my winning run he never appeared. Here’s the relevant line from the source.

112 IFZZ>2ANDRND(100)=50THEN5500
5510 PRINT”WELL SHIVER ME TIMBERS! NOT ANOTHER ONE! HAR HAR HAR, I’LL JUST SNATCH ALL THIS BOOTY AND HIDE IT DEEP IN THE MAZE. WITH THAT, HE STEALS ALL OF YOUR TREASURE!”

It is in other words a straight 1 out of 100 chance. Note this is different than original Adventure, where the pirate has a physical location which travels the map and it is very hard not to run into him (which is good since in Adventure the pirate has his own treasure you wouldn’t be able to reach otherwise).

Chester the Jester
: He’s got a 1 out of 27 chance of appearing. Here’s everything the jester can say.

51135 C$(0)=”PAY ATTENTION IN THE MAZE, TO THE WORDING OF THE PHRASE! IF YOU DO YOU’LL BE UN-MAZED.”
51140 C$(1)=”GULP GULP GULP, DRINK IT DOWN, I’M NOT SUCH A STUPID CLOWN!”
51145 C$(2)=”OUT OF A WINDOW YOU MAY FALL. JUST LOOK OUT, THAT IS ALL!”
51150 C$(3)=”THE KNIGHTS CAN’T BE KILLED, AS FAR AS I KNOW. IF YOU FIND THEY CAN, PLEASE TELL ME SO!”
51155 C$(4)=”DON’T BRING THE SWORD TO THE SORCERER’S PLACE. IF YOU DO, HE MIGHT CONFRONT YOU FACE TO FACE!”
51160 C$(5)=”HOCUS POCUS, ALAKAZAM! DON’T READ THE BOOK OR YOU’LL BE SORRY! (YOU TRY TO RHYME ALAKAZAM)!”
51165 C$(6)=”PASSAGES THAT SEEM ALL ALIKE CAN SEEM QUITE DIFFERENT, JUST HOPE YOU’RE RIGHT!”
51170 C$(7)=”NOT ALL TREASURE LIES UNDER A ROOF. SOME MIGHT BE UNDER A TREE!”

The Sorcerer: For a while I thought I might never meet a Sorcerer in a game called Sorcerer’s Castle, but based on the hint C$(4) from Chester the Jester I took the gold sword to the study/sitting room part of the map and met the sorcerer in the Dungeon.

sorslay

Well that was… anticlimactic. What I found most interesting is how even though the Jester gives a clue he also simultaneously gives bad advice. (The game only recognizes the first three letters of each word as a method of saving space, which is why I typed “SOR” instead of “SORCERER”.)

The inside of the castle. Hand-made maps can be fun once in a while.

The inside of the castle. Hand-made maps can be fun once in a while.

I’ve officially finished the four games listed in this Mad Hatter catalog, so they definitely represent Greg Hassett’s first four games. Of course he was still 12/13 years old at the time, but it’s enough to spot trends.

In the case of Journey to the Center of the Earth, it seems like he was determined to write real descriptions for rooms (just like Adventure had) but ran into the TRS-80 memory limit and just found a stopping point and barely added any semblence of puzzles. By Sorcerer’s Castle Mr. Hassett has taken the same minimalist description tack as Scott Adams allowing him to add many more rooms but still not much more puzzles. It’s like he has discovered the freedom of space but doesn’t know what to do with it yet.

What’s common between Mr. Hassett’s later three games (House of the Seven Gables, King Tut’s Tomb, and Sorcerer) is randomly appearing characters. Seven Gables had the ghoul, ghost and cat; King Tut had a mummy, and this game had the menagerie listed above. They’ve currently been the only strength and interest (I’m still curious what’s going on with the cat from Seven Gables) and you can see the author slowing adding to a template. When he returns with Voyage to Atlantis we’ll see if he’s developed any further.

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Posted January 25, 2016 by Jason Dyer in Interactive Fiction

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2 responses to “Sorcerer’s Castle Adventure: Finished!

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  1. “The game only recognizes the first three letters of each word as a method of saving space,” — that’s quite some restriction on the kind of nouns you can have, huh?

    • Yeah, but not uncommon for the era. I haven’t actively searched but there’s probably games that intentionally name objects in an obtuse way to get around the problem.

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