Apparently the monkey mask has no holes to see through.
My last gameplay post finished with me throwing a big hunk of meat to the dog, distracting it and allowing me to explore the room. There’d been nothing obvious to check out, so I then began looking at everything in the room in great detail. I was faced with all the usual parser annoyances, such as being told that “You’re not close enough!” when trying to look at the dog while standing right next to it. I eventually concluded that the rug had to play a role, yet once again I was told that I wasn’t close enough when I tried to look under it. Thankfully I didn’t give up, as typing “look under rug” while standing in just the right spot caused Hugo to roll part of it up, revealing a trap door (8 points). The trap door was bolted shut, and I didn’t seem to have anything in my inventory that would help me to get it open. I’d been convinced that the oilcan would play a role, but using it on the door hadn’t achieved anything. I was just about to leave and start re-exploring all the other rooms in the house when I thought to try typing “use oil on bolt”. It worked, and I was then able to open the bolt and remove it (17 points)!
Hey, parser! You only have one purpose and you're crap at it, so shut up!
At this point I received a message telling me: “You casually throw the mask away, since you won’t be needing it any more!” Clearly the mask had only been required to get the chop, and removing it from the game at this point would have made it easier for David to program the areas below. Feeling one step closer to saving Penelope, I made my way down the stairs that had previously been hidden beneath the trap door, reappearing in a basement. There was a door on one wall, and a few large rocks strewn around the place. “You are below the house now. The walls appear to be partly hewn out of rock. To the right of the basement is a large, extremely heavy looking door. You can hear the muffled sounds of someone sobbing!” I looked at the door, and found that I could see Penelope in the room beyond! I was unable to communicate with her though, as her mouth was gagged. There were no bolts holding the door in place and no keyhole, so I had to wonder how on earth I was going to get inside. Perhaps there was another way in? I typed “look at rock” and was told: “You examine every rock in minute detail and come up with: Zilch!” Well, clearly the rocks weren’t going to hold a solution.
Well that rules out doing anything with the rocks...right?
I tried to walk under the stairs but couldn’t, and then wondered whether one of the rocks I could see was in fact two (right near the stairs). I tried to walk between them, and was stunned when I suddenly appeared in another room (12 points)! Now, I stumbled on this solution in less than a minute, but I wouldn’t be surprised if lots of people struggled to find it. There’s not really any reason to try and walk in that spot. It’s not like you would expect to uncover a whole new area by walking between two rocks, even if you did spot that there was something odd visually. Anyway, I was now in a large cavern, with vampire bats flying around and a doorway at the other end. I’d been so stunned when I’d first appeared there, that I simply stood still until the bats came and got me. After restoring, it took me about five or six attempts to get through the room without being hit (they seem to fly around pretty randomly). Sadly, once I finally made it, I was killed moments later by a mummy in the next cavern, which charged straight at me! I’d had no time to save, so had to endure trying to evade the bats all over again. Once I finally reached the cavern with the mummy in it again, I saved my game immediately, then tried to figure out the way to avoid it.
Vampire bats? In a haunted house?! Oh hang on...that's fair.
Seriously dude, how close do you need to be?!
Avoiding the mummy turned out to be quite simple, as I could cause it to become stuck behind the rocks easily. The real trick was getting it to be stuck in just the right spot so I could not only reach the exit, but also collect the gold that was sitting on the ground on the way through (10 points). The series of caverns continued, with the next one containing an old fisherman (although it really did look like a woman) sitting on a jetty across a small lake. There was a boat on my side of the lake, and that appeared to be the only way across. I looked at the boat and was told that “It looks like a serviceable boat. I wonder whether it would get you to the other side?” I typed “get in boat”, and shortly afterwards had a facepalm moment!!!! “I’m afraid the boat has a hole in the bottom! Unless you can plug it with something, this boat will surely sink before you get to the other shore!” I clearly needed the “useful bung” that I’d seen in the mad scientist’s laboratory! I restored back to the lab, determined to figure out how I was supposed to get the bung and still be able to leave the room. There simply had to be a way to make myself bigger again after the shrinking machine had done its thing.
Well I guess it's time for a little swim Hugo. What do you mean no?! How about you jump over the small gap at the edge you wuss!
It took me literally thirty seconds to figure it out this time! The thing that had put me off the scent last time was that Igor appeared not to want to converse with me, but the trick was to talk to him once I was standing in the machine. Once there I typed “tell igor to press button”. He pressed the YELLOW button, and the machine increased me to my normal size! Unfortunately, when I tried to leave I found that my directions were all messed up. When I tried to go left, Hugo would go right, and when I went right, Hugo would go left. I thought perhaps I could get used to it, but the thought of trying to avoid bats and mummies with reversed arrow keys was daunting. I hopped back into the machine and asked Igor to press another button. This time he pressed the GREEN button, but this caused me to partially disappear, with only strips of my body visible. I asked Igor to again press another button, and finally he pressed the BLUE button he was supposed to press in the first place. I was now my normal size, with no nasty side effects, meaning I could leave the laboratory with the bung I needed for the boat. I very quickly made my way back to the lake and tried to fix the boat.
Surprisingly this wasn't merely a graphical glitch
A few things about the game had been mildly irritating by this point, but I have to say this is the part that really frustrated me. I typed “use bung”, yet the game didn’t understand me. I tried “use bung on boat”, but still no luck. I then tried “use bung in hole in boat”, “fill hole with bung”, “fix hole with bung” and plenty of other alternate versions of the same request. None of them got a response until I typed “plug up boat”. Even this didn’t give me success, but the response of “You must be more specific” at least told me I was on the right track. The solution ended up being “plug up boat with bung”, but anything other than those exact words didn’t seem to work. The boat was now fixed though, so I hopped in. “The rope is knotted too tightly and you are, alas, unable to untie it despite your best efforts!” This seemed a perfect opportunity to use my knife, and “cut rope with knife” did the trick. The boat, with me in it, floated across the lake and stopped in front of the fisherman. I wasn’t able to get out though, as the man was blocking my path. My first thought was to “pay the ferryman” with the gold I’d just collected, but he wouldn’t accept my generous gift. All of a sudden he spoke to me...
Remember not to pay until you get to the other side
“Ah! Welcome to my lake, my fine young friend. I have been waiting for you! I am well aware of your quest and I would hasten you on your way. However, before I let you pass I must satisfy myself that you have the experience to handle the dangers that lurk through yonder passage. To this end, you will permit me to test your mettle with a few questions the answers to which would come readily to the lips of any seasoned adventurer. Be warned, however that I can only accept your first answer!” I certainly hadn’t expected a test, and prepared to solve whatever this crazy old dude could throw at me. His first question was “What was the first name of the hero in The Hobbit?” What?! Of course I knew the answer was “Bilbo”, but what did that have to do with the rest of the game? My answer was correct, but all of a sudden I feared what might be coming next. “Where did Aslan live? (Hint: Not in a wardrobe!)” Well, Aslan was the lion from the Chronicles of Narnia, so the answer had to be “Narnia”. Correct! Haha! You won’t fool me old man! “Who invented Count Dracula?” I’ve read Bram Stoker’s Dracula, so typed “Bram Stoker”. Correct! Is that all you’ve got!? Come on, give me something hard!!! “What should you do with a Pan-galactic gargle blaster? (a) Ride it (b) Fire it (c) Drink it (d) Run away from it”. As a big fan of Douglas Adams, this question was also very easy for me. “c”. Correct!
It's hard work being this good!
By now, my confidence was sky high, and I was looking forward to each question. Clearly David Gray knew his audience, and they would likely be experienced in the history of fantasy, sci fi and horror fiction. “And now a riddle: What’s the name of the only mammal that can’t fly that can fly?” Hmmm...that was a bit trickier, but surely the answer was a “human”. We can fly after all, if not through our own bodily functions. I entered my answer, only to be told that it was incorrect! I’d failed the test, and was now left in the boat for all eternity! Boooo!!!! I had a fair idea what to do though, so I restored and got myself back to the same point. This time I typed “man” instead of “human” and cursed Mr Gray as I was informed that this answer was correct. Surely a bit of parser flexibility would go a long way in such circumstances! I still hadn’t completed the test though, and was informed that there were “just 2 more to go!” I was on the home stretch, but the smile was very rapidly wiped from my face! “What was the name of Roy Rogers’s dog?” WTF!!!??? Who the hell is Roy Rogers? I’d recognised the subject of all the other questions, but I’d never heard of anyone named Roy Rogers, let alone knew what their dog was called!
Oh that's easy! It's um...um...wait a minute...who the hell is Roy Rogers!?
Was I really going to need to submit a Request for Assistance while playing Hugo’s House of Horrors? Surely not! Hang on a second! Laukku had put a bet on a particular puzzle in this game, with the jackpot being 150 CAPs. This was it wasn’t it! I immediately knew that it was, which made me even more determined not to fail. But how do you solve a “puzzle” that requires knowledge you don’t have? It’s not really a puzzle at all! This got me thinking about what I would do if this did indeed turn out to be Laukku’s bet, but I decided to deal with that later. I tried to put myself in the shoes of a player in 1990. They likely wouldn’t have had the internet to quickly Google the answer, as it was still in its infancy. In all likelihood they would have asked one of their parents. I picked up my mobile and rang my dad. Dad: “Hello.” Me: “Hi dad. I have a strange question for you.” Dad: “Right.” Me: “Do you know who Roy Rogers is?” Dad: “Roy Rogers?” Me: “Yeah, Roy Rogers. Do you know who he is?” Dad: “Wasn’t he an actor?” Me: “Well I’m not sure. Do you know anything else?” Dad: “What’s this all about? Why don’t you just look him up?” Me: “I can’t do that.” Dad: “Why not?!” Me: “I just can’t dad. Look, do you know what Roy Rogers’ dog is called?” Dad: “Not a clue. Have you been drinking? It might be time to stop!” Me: “Never mind dad. Thanks.”
Mr Trickster seemed quite sure that his son had been partaking in something unhealthy
Damn it! This wasn’t fair. Over the next couple of minutes, I convinced myself that looking up Roy Rogers on the internet, and even the name of his dog, was not really breaking the rules of The Adventure Gamer. I didn’t require a walkthrough. I was required to know something unrelated to the game, and I simply didn’t. The question was clearly designed to make players step away from the game and go and find the answer any way that they could, so that’s what I was going to do! I Googled Roy Rogers and found that he was a singer and cowboy actor from the 30s through to the 50s and beyond. I also discovered that his dog’s name was Bullet! I now know that this was exactly the part of the game that Laukku predicted I would require assistance with. At first I felt a bit cheated, and considered compromising in some way (perhaps giving him half the CAPs?). After all, handing over 150 CAPs for an almost impossible puzzle seemed excessive. After some more thought though, and after consulting The Adventure Gamer committee (yes, I formed a committee over this), I have decided to award Laukku all 150 CAPs. My original rule stated “A reader can bet 10 of their current CAPs that The Trickster will require assistance to solve a particular puzzle in the game he is about to commence playing”. It made no mention of where the assistance might come from, so this puzzle was fair game! I may have to change the wording of the rule going forward though. Congrats Laukku! Well played!
Roy Rogers and his dog Bullet. Don't tell me you knew the answer! I won't listen.
After that bitchy question, I really was concerned about what the last one might be. As it turned out, it was the easiest of all. “Are you sure you want to rescue Penelope?” Clearly the answer was “Yes”, and I was pronounced a “noble and wise adventurer!!” (33 points) Now that I was able to pass the fisherman and enter the next screen, I had to wonder what challenges the test may have been preparing me for. Were things about to get truly nasty!? I found myself confronted by a guard, who appeared to be wearing nothing but underwear. “You have arrived in a passage with a room at the end. There is a large guard at the end who appears to be standing outside a kind of jail. Wait! Behind the guard you can make out a familiar shape! Yes! It’s Penelope, being held prisoner!” Really? This was the end of the game? So much for “the dangers that lurk through yonder passage”! I figured the easiest way past him was to give him the gold, and he accepted it (21 points)! I walked into the jail and found Penelope (well, a silhouette of Penelope anyway). “Congratulations! You are so glad to have rescued Penelope, you dance for joy! After cutting her ropes with your penknife, you open the bolts of the jail door and find yourself back in the basement! From here you trip hand in hand the basement stairs, past the ferocious doggy, through the kitchen and out the front door to freedom!” Game 36 complete! My thoughts on it shall be revealed in the Final Rating post.
I really don't want to think about what this guard might have done to me
Hooray! I've saved the enormous shadow of my girlfriend!
Now we can be shadows together...forever!
Session Time: 1 hour 00 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes