Sunday, 30 September 2012

Game 24: Chamber of the Sci-Mutant Priestess - Arachnoid Mater

Raven Journal Entry 2: “I’ve found three of these blasted Vort Skulls, and feel like it’s only a matter of time before the last two are in my possession. There are some strange creatures in this temple, with unknown motives, including a Spider Mistress that appeared to want to copulate with me and a massive beast living submerged in acid! At least the other aspirants’ motives are clear, and I made the most of one by trading items, giving myself the opportunity to proceed. I can write no longer, as I have very little time to complete the ordeals. Sci Fi’s life depends on my success!”


What's behind door number...um...Who Will Be Saved?

At the end of my first gameplay post for Chamber of the Sci-Mutant Priestess, I’d just managed to unlock the door labelled Who Will Be Saved? by giving the serpents in The Twins some drink and “food”. On entering the newly accessible room, I found myself staring at seven hands reaching out of the ground, with a sliding panel and yet another serpent head on the wall. On inspecting the serpent’s head, I was informed that it appeared to be mobile, and that there was some sort of inscription. It read “the passerby saves some, then makes his choice known to the sliding one’s head.” I tried pulling up one of the hands and found that this did pull it out of the ground by some distance, although nothing seemed to happen when I did so. I assumed there must be some order or pattern to which hands I should pull, but which ones?


The inscription says something, then laughs as its cryptic message is unfathomable to the passerby

I reread the inscription. Did I need to choose whichever ones I wanted and then “make the choice known to the sliding one’s head”? Was the sliding one’s head the sliding panel on the wall? I tried interacting with the sliding panel, but I didn’t really get anywhere. I did however find I could push the serpent’s head, and was told that I could “hear a noise coming from the fountain room”. Would I find a hint to the hands puzzle in the fountain room now? I was prepared to go and find out, but I thought I would see what Gauss had to say before I did so. I clicked the Tune In icon and Gauss told me that “the die nose witch wunz to pullup” (the die knows which ones to pullup). The die? You mean the die I just put in the serpent’s mouth to open the door to Who Will Be Saved?


Chamber of the Die Nose Witch

How could the die tell me anything? I recalled that when I rolled the die, it always came up with the number two, but pulling the second hand up didn’t do anything. I had no idea how to inform the sliding panel of my choice either, so I left the room and headed back over to The Source (where the fountain was). Nothing looked different in The Source, but pressing the serpent’s head must have shifted something. When I moved the cursor over the plaque at the front of the room, I now found that there were six cubes, marked Cube 1 through to Cube 6. I have to say that it’s pretty odd for a game like this, even one made in 1989, to not show any visual representation of items on screen. Why would I think to recheck the plaque when it looks exactly the same as it did before?


That has to be the worst hint ever!

Interestingly, when I inspected each of the cubes, I was informed of different shapes atop each one. A circle, a triangle, a star, a cross, a square and wavy lines respectively! I hadn’t really noticed anything that might hint as to which one to open, but thankfully I saved my game before making any attempts. I chose to lift the first cube, and was poisoned, ending my game before I had any chance to try any of the others. I reloaded and tried the second cube instead. “You find a skull inside.” Winner! Was it possible that the number 2 that kept coming up when I threw the dice was the hint? At first I assumed so, but on subsequent play throughs (I’ve had to play through numerous times due to running out of time), I’ve now found that the cube with the skull in it is random.


Trial and error wins again!

I have to be honest and say that I have no idea what Who Will Be Saved? is all about, and have no idea how to logically figure out which cube holds the skull, but since finding the skull makes The Twins and Who Will Be Saved? inaccessible, I can only assume that the skull was the only thing I needed in this section. Either that or I’m dead-ended already! Regardless, I had the first of five skulls, and was able to make my way back out to the starting area by clicking the arrow at the bottom of the screen. I’d kind of hoped that I would receive one of the other three items (dagger, rope, fly) while I was getting the first skull, as I’d assumed I would need one particular item to pass each ordeal, and that by doing so would reveal another. Was I supposed to get an item by solving the Who Will Be Saved? puzzle? All I could do was push onto the other rooms and see what would happen!


Apparently no-one

The Rope


A rope...a knife...I'm seeing a pattern and I'm not sure I like it!

By the time I’d figured out how to get the Vort Skull from The Twins part of the temple, I’d well and truly used up my hour. I therefore had no choice but to restart, get a new item, and go wherever it led me. The next item I got was the rope, which would apparently be useful in the room titled De Profundis. As usual, I was immediately transported to that room, where I was met by a rather horrific beast in a pool of acid. I had to click the left mouse button to continue and as soon as I did, the beast sank beneath the deadly liquid, leaving me to ponder how I was going to reach the doorway on the other side of it. Gauss’ hint was “hole don” (hold on), but I could see nothing to hold onto. I sensibly saved my game, which was just as well, as even clicking on the door made the platform I was standing on sink a little bit into the acid. A vertical column did come down from the ceiling though, which looked like a perfect thing to hold onto!


De Profungus

My first thought was that the rope would likely help in this instance, but since I’d begun to doubt whether I would be able to discover all the required items in one play through (I’m only going to be given one each time I play), I thought I’d try to get across without using it. Any incorrect move and I sank into the acid, forcing me to reload, but I quickly found the solution was to use the Sticky Fingers sci power, which allowed me to climb up to the ceiling and hang onto the column. As usual though, I was merely informed that I was hanging on, and nothing actually changed onscreen. I then used the Wait icon until the beast re-emerged, before selecting to “jump onto it”. He took me across the acid to the door on the other side, where I was informed that a skull was just waiting for me. Well that was a heck of a lot easier than the first one!


Spiderman, spiderman, does whatever a spider can

The Fly


A fly! Really? That's the best you have to offer!

On exiting De Profundis, I found myself back in The Ring, and was pleasantly surprised to discover a fellow Five Ordeals aspirant asking me whether I wanted to trade items. I happily traded in my rope for his fly, and since I’d wasted very little time collecting the second skull, didn’t have to start over this time before venturing on. I was really happy to learn of this trading option, and felt much more confident in being able to solve the five ordeals within the same play through if this feature was available multiple times. I knew from a previous beginning that the fly would be useful in the room called The Scorpion’s Presence, so that’s where I went next.


What...is...that!!??

The scorpion turned out to be a statue, or at least that’s how it initially appeared. Talking to it caused it to respond with “I am mastel of scolpions. How hungly I am!” Clearly this master or scorpions had a bit of trouble with the English language, but it wasn’t difficult to translate. Further conversation resulted in “I desile my dinnel. Go see hel, and folget not hel plesent!” Who was this “her” and what “present” would she want? What dinner could I offer the master of scorpions? I immediately thought of the fly, and after saving my game, put it into the mouth that was situated towards its base. Nothing at all happened, causing me to believe that wasn’t the right thing to do, so I restored.


Good rord! What's wlong with youl wolds!

The only other things of interest in the room were two engravings, the first of which was a spider that offered nothing more than “very webbish” when inspected. The other engraving on the wall increased in size when I inspected it, but even at a larger size, it didn’t really show me anything that meant anything to me just yet. It had what appeared to be a man beneath a sun, moon and star, pointing out a Saturn-like planet to an infant (well that’s my take on it anyway). With nothing else to do, I went through the door beneath the spider, assuming whoever this female character was would be found within. I was right!


A special thanks to the game designers for increasing the size of the engraving by about 12%. It's so much clearer now!

The Web seemed like a pretty nasty place to be. Cobwebs all over the floor, spiders everywhere, and the Spider Mistress beckoning me closer! But as soon as I figured out how to get past the cobwebs without getting caught (I had to crawl before moving forward), I realised she didn’t necessarily want me for food. This hideous monster wanted me for sex, firstly requesting a kiss after I gave her the fly, before demanding we make “passionate love” once I agreed. As you might expect, none of these creepy exchanges of bodily fluid led to anything positive, and I eventually figured out I could simply refuse her advances without lowering my chances of survival. The Spider Mistress offered me one of two spiders, with one being red and the other blue.


You wantt to get down to business before getting down to business? Make up your mind she-witch!

Clearly, choosing the correct spider was a test, and interestingly it was the spiders themselves that gave me a hint of its solution. The red one said “you think of evelything, as Khele would say”, to which the blue one responded with “Dear Khele! He loves what he can’t pronounce!” It didn’t take me long to figure out which spider I was supposed to choose. Khele was obviously the Scorpion Master, since he was the only character that always replaced R’s with L’s. Out of the two spider colours, the one that he wouldn’t be able to pronounce was “red”, which he would have pronounced “led”. I therefore surmised that the spider he would want to eat would be the red one. However, since I had to choose the one to feed the fly, and the other one would be mine, I needed to select the blue spider.


It's always a good idea to give hints to someone who wishes to use you as food

Blue was the correct answer, and I took the spider to Khele and placed it into the mouth towards the bottom of the statue. Rather oddly, the little door at the base opened up revealing an “upside down character”, which was Khele. I couldn’t do anything apart from entering the statue alongside him, within which I found the third skull and then suddenly found myself back in The Ring, apparently having gone through another door on the inside of the statue. That’s three skulls down, with two to go before I can become a Divo! I assume the two remaining skulls can be found in the rooms called The Noose and The Wall, but I haven’t yet explored them apart from a quick peek. I still have no idea whether retrieving the skulls is all I need to do in each section, and there are a few puzzles I failed to solve (the hands, the engraving etc.). I guess I'll ignore them unless I get stuck down the track!


I can't help wondering if his name is actually Khere

Session Time: 1 hours 00 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 00 minutes

Note Regarding Spoilers and Companion Assist Points: I've written a set of rules regarding spoilers and companion assist points. Please read it here before before making any comments that could be considered a spoiler in any way. The short of it is that no points will be given for hints or spoilers given in advance of me requiring one. Please...try not to spoil any part of the game for me...unless I really obviously need the help...or I specifically request assistance. In this instance, I've not made any requests for assistance. Thanks!

19 comments:

  1. I don't think you'll need to worry about the hands anymore, so you can read the following (I'll ROT13 it just in case Lars-Erik hasn't solved this particular puzzle): Gur gevpx vf gb chyy hc gjb unaqf fvghngrq gb erfrzoyr gur cbvagf bs ahzore 2 va n qvpr (v.r. qvntbanyyl). Abj jura lbh chfu gur urnq gur fyvqvat cnary fubhyq bcra naq erirny n cvpgher gryyvat juvpu phor lbh fubhyq pubbfr.

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    1. Nope, still haven't done the hands. Must...resist...decoding!

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    2. I just got all five skulls and have entered the concourse, so I thought I'd read this.

      V xvaq bs svtherq gur nafjre jbhyq unir fbzrguvat gb qb jvgu gur gur ahzore 2, ohg fvapr gurer jrer 7 unaqf engure guna 6, V arire gubhtug gb gerng vg nf n qvpr. Gung'f cerggl qvssvphyg, ohg abg vzcbffvoyr.

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  2. I didn't realize you could use Sticky fingers instead of the rope in De profundis, but I did use SCI-powers instead of an item in another room (you haven't dealt with it, so I'll say no more). Nice to know there are alternative ways to solve these puzzles.

    Two very general hints, if you are having trouble getting all the required items:
    1) Qrnq crbcyr unir na vairagbel.
    2) Unir lbh gevrq bssrevat lbh fxhyyf gb nalbar?

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  3. Those cubes reminded me of this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=fn7-JZq0Yxs#t=31s

    This game has been very interesting so far! I'm pleasantly surprised. Of course that means that our low guesses for the final score are probably way out!

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  4. Aha, found the third! Man, my brain apparently needs some sort of graphical incentive to work through adventure games, and this one just ends up scrambling it like eggs instead. Can't remember the last time I had to work so hard at it (or am I just not enjoying it, so it seems harder?). :(

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  5. Wow! The participation on the blog really drops off when I'm not posting regularly!

    Things are finally starting to settle down a bit at work, but I'm not yet back to being able to play and post as much as I'd like.

    I do hope to have a post up tomorrow though. Stick with me guys, I'll be back to posting every two or three days soon!

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    1. Honestly, I think it has more to do with the subject matter. It's a niche game not many people have played, and might not be the most attractive. At least that's what I see in myself, I on't really look forward to go back in it. But I'll give it another go later today.

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    2. I may not be posting much on this game, simply because I've never played it and don't feel the need to, but trust me, I'm checking everyday to see if there's interesting new comments to the prior posts or a new post to read through! Your loyal readers will be here when you can post, no worries about that!

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    3. This being a niche game is probably a partial reason, but I don't think it is the whole story - after all, Psycho got a lot more comments. Then again, Psycho was so bad that it was fun to talk about, while thus far the only thing to make fun about in Chamber has been the story in the manual, while the game itself has been just bland.

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    4. Yeah, we've had more active discussion when you've been gone in the past, I think it is the game.

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  6. I agree with Lars-Erik, but I think we'll face a similar situation with any other puzzle-based game. They're usually thin in story and characterization, so most discussion about them is spoilery!

    But no worries Trickster we're still watching... and waiting...

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  7. Also, a lot of people here have no knowledge or experience of this game, so we have little to discuss. Don't worry, we're still here, reading and waiting!

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  8. 7th Guest is on sale (60%) at gog.com for 24 hours.

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    Replies
    1. Speaking of puzzle-based games... :-)

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  9. Chiming in on the people reading...don't have much to add for this game and definitely have no interest in playing it. Still, fun to read about. In on-topic news, one of the recent indie bundles offered the Broken Sword trilogy, so I'm playing the first game (Director's Cut) for the first time.

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    Replies
    1. Is it any good? I bought the bundle as well but haven't had a chance to play them.

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    2. Yeah, actually it is. I'm about 40% through the game (the save file gives you this information). Here are some of the good points:

      - Full voice acting.
      - Good plot, good development, and definitely unique.
      - Highlighting of "interesting" areas. No stupid pixel-hunting.
      - Puzzles that aren't obtuse. Not too hard, not too easy.
      - You play two characters. The switches between characters happens at certain events. You don't switch freely.
      - Built-in hint system. You can go to a hint menu that will start with vague hints and build up to giving you the solution. I haven't had to use it; I restored an earlier game to play with it. (See newer Telltale Games)
      - No dead-ends. At least I don't think so; I googled it.

      So yeah, a few hours in, a totally enjoyable experience. Looking forward to playing out the series!

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    3. I watched a (blind) Let's Play of the Broken Sword 1 remake and thought it was worse than the original.

      -new material (voice acting and artwork) sticks out like a sore thumb
      -Nico's added storyline dies off halfway and merely kills the pacing
      -no deaths (George solves potentially fatal situations automatically), destroying tension
      -George was recharacterised as a fool
      -less detail (animation, hotspots) in general

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