Strange Odyssey: Strange Ending   4 comments

The title screen of the Electron version, via Mobygames.

The title screen of the Electron version, via Mobygames.

I’m carrying: * ANCIENT FLASK SAURIAN BRANDY *, * RIGILIAN ICE DIAMOND *, * STRANGE ALIEN BELT *, * RARE ALIEN PAINTING *, * ALIEN SCULPTURE *
WHAT SHALL I DO? drop brandy
WHAT SHALL I DO? drop diamond
WHAT SHALL I DO? drop belt
WHAT SHALL I DO? drop painting
WHAT SHALL I DO? drop sculpture
WHAT SHALL I DO? score
I’ve stored 5 treasures. On a scale from 0 to 100 that rates a 100. Well done.
This adventure is over. Do you want to try this adventure again?

I need to backtrack slightly on what I said in my last post; the treasures are not optional. In fact, my major sticking point which required a glance at hints involved one of the treasures.

But first, let me pick up where I left off last time. I had gotten to the point where I had gotten to the damaged Power Crystal of my ship but hadn’t worked out how to fix it.

This turned out to be a very nice puzzle with some lateral thinking involved. The crystal is described as a “thin rod” but I originally assumed this meant that I had to reshape the crystal in that format.

Then it occurred to me, well, what if I just replaced it? Is there already something that works like a Power Crystal? Indeed there was.

From the FM-7 version of the game, in Japanese. Via Mobygames.

The Hexagonal Room, from the FM-7 version of the game, in Japanese. Via Mobygames.

I realized the “rod” from the Hexagonal Room I had been using to teleport around, is, in fact, a thin rod, and maybe I could use it. After all, once I left the planet, I didn’t need to teleport around any more. After BREAK ROD:

Odd it only required very little force for it to break off in my hand with a CRYSTALLINE snap!

Oho. It fit into the right spot of the ship perfectly. I gathered the treasures I had found so far (ANCIENT FLASK SAURIAN BRANDY, STRANGE ALIEN BELT, RARE ALIEN PAINTING, and ALIEN SCULPTURE) and left. I landed at a “mother ship” which told me to drop treasures and type “score”, just like Adventureland. I dutifully did so, but got the dreaded message:

I’ve stored 4 treasures. On a scale from 0 to 100 that rates a 80.

In other words, I was missing one treasure!

At this point I was extremely stumped. There was a “methane snow storm” location I hadn’t been able to get anything out of, but I assumed it was a red herring (there is also a “black emptiness” location which really is a red herring, so that wasn’t too outrageous an assumption). However, I threw every item and verb I could at it with no success.

I finally succumbed to the peek of a walkthrough, and realized I had fallen to most dreaded of text adventure blocks: missing a room exit entirely.

mapextra

The “plain with jungle” location, which I previous assumed was there just so you could DIG, let you type “GO JUNGLE” to a new location.

To be fair, this is violation of the implicit rules previously set up; all other exits in the game that describe locations are mentioned in the “object list” (see the curtain in the image below) and anything in the main description of the room was (up to this point) non-interactive.

jungpic

So in some sense my need to resort to hints was caused purely by a UI issue, but still, I’ve haven’t had a perfect run at Scott Adams game since Pirate Adventure. Sigh. Maybe next time?

Fortunately, the puzzle solving sequence after went smoothly:

– I came across a “Rigalian Dia-Ice Hound” which needed to be stunned by my phaser. (The phaser previously had only been used to vaporize a boulder, so I’m glad it got some more use. The phaser can be set TO STUN or TO DESTROY.)
– I took the Hound over to the “methane snow storm” area. Ice Hound and all that.
– The hound eventually woke up and ran off into the storm. I searched about and a room that previously led to nowhere now had a “mound.”
– Using an ice pick, I was able to dig into the mound. Inside awaited the hound, and a RIGILIAN ICE DIAMOND. I had to stun the hound again, nab the diamond, set the phaser to DESTROY, and the vaporize the entire mound.
– The hound runs off after this sequence and I was able to escape with the treasure.

Really this was an excellent set piece, and I’m glad I went through it for the last treasure. Still, I’m somewhat disappointed that the winning state of the plot did regress to collecting all the treasure, but in a way I suppose it may have been a conservative compromise; perhaps players were getting uncomfortable with the treasure-less uncertainty of Secret Mission, Voodoo Castle and The Count.

I know I tend to be somewhat allergic to ranking things on this blog, but I figured it would be fun to pause for a moment to rank the Scott Adams games I’ve played so far, from worst to best. I’m including the Alexis Adams game as well.

6. Secret Mission by Scott Adams: I loved the use of implicit plot, but the puzzles felt like I was just lurching between improbable sequences rather than figuring anything out.

5. Adventureland by Scott Adams: His first effort, and it shows; some kind of wonky puzzle design, but still a fun setting and certainly an amazing technical achievement for the time.

4. Pirate Adventure by Scott Adams: I liked the parrot, and the pirate who seemed to care more about alcohol than treasure.

3. Strange Odyssey by Scott Adams: This game had some genuinely excellent puzzles and setting, although the plot was strictly mundane.

2. The Count by Scott Adams: Strong connection between gameplay and plot still eludes most authors; The Count nails it about as squarely as possible. There’s too much learn-by-dying for it to rank #1 but otherwise this game is the benchmark to beat. (If I was teaching a class on text adventures, this is probably one of the games I’d use.)

1. Voodoo Castle by Alexis Adams: The ritual that makes up the plot is a little bit arbitrary but there aren’t any puzzles I can complain about, there was a genuine feel of unraveling a mystery, and I still found this as fun as a modern game.

Note that even Secret Mission would rank higher than at least half the games I’ve played so far from this era. I can understand why in this brief sliver of time Adventure International was the company to beat.

Advertisements

Posted February 22, 2017 by Jason Dyer in Interactive Fiction

Tagged with

4 responses to “Strange Odyssey: Strange Ending

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. Do you vaporize the entire “mound” rather than hound? It seems odd that the hound runs away after you vaporize it.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: