Friday, 3 February 2012

Game 9: Uninvited - Logic's Fleeting Visit

Journal Entry 3: “Any hopes I might have had for finding my brother alive are deteriorating quickly. While I have had numerous successes since I last wrote, I still have no idea where he is, or how close I am to discovering his whereabouts. This house holds many secrets, and I’ve come across things I never could have dreamed of. Bizarre creatures, ghostly apparitions, zombies! I thought all these things were the stuff of fantasy and nightmares! Not only do I know they’re real, I’m now finding myself casting spells, as though that’s a completely normal thing to be doing. I’ve gained access to the chapel and the magisterium, and I’m convinced the latter is where a lot of the answers to this mystery lie. Yet despite solving so much, I am still confronted with seemingly unpassable obstacles. A safe that requires a combination, a huge spider that seems invulnerable to my attacks and that bloody creature with the key is still running rings around me! I haven’t given up. I must not give up!”

You may have already guessed, due to my absence for the last couple of days, that Uninvited is remaining a time consuming challenge. At the end of my last post I suggested that the game had at least one hour to show me it was worth persevering with. As it turns out, that next hour was by far my most productive I’ve had with the game, and all of a sudden I was actually able to apply some logic to problems to overcome them. At least I was, once I managed to get into the chapel which was being guarded by vicious dogs. To pass them I had to use my first spell, which was a heck of a lot easier than I’d anticipated. There I was trying to use the amulet and the stars with all sorts of items, in the hope that I’d unlock some ability to play around with magic, and all I had to do was say a few words at the right time. Simply saying Instantum Illuminaris Abraxas (which was written on one of the scrolls I’d collected and is translated as “instant light magic”) caused a bolt of lightning that scared the dogs away, giving me access to the chapel and beyond. Once I got in there, things progressed fairly rapidly.


All bow down and worship our Lord Spiderman!

As soon as I’d broken my spell casting virginity, I followed up with another about a minute later. The other spell I had written down was Specan Heafod Abraxas, which when translated using the book I found in the library means “talking head magic”, so when I came across a marble head in the chapel, I thought I’d give it a shot. The head responded with “please open thy door for this poor family man, but do not let him travel in darkness”, and a door leading out the left side of the chapel opened. Curiosity got the better of me and I went through it to see where it led, and was confronted and killed by a ghost immediately. I restored and this time paid more attention to the words the head had spoke. Noticing the comment about not travelling in darkness, I lit the candles I found in the room and then carried them with me. When I ventured back through the newly opened doorway, the ghost was apparently offended by the flames and flew away. The solutions to these problems don’t exactly scream logic from a story point of view, but at least they make sense from a problem-solving perspective.


So this apparition isn't cliche. It just happens to be "in the shape of a classic ghost"?

My all-conquering gaming session continued when I entered a labyrinthine garden maze. Being an experienced RPG player, I’m pretty used to mapping my way through mazes, so this one didn’t offer much challenge on that front. The only difficulty was that I kept running into zombies that would kill me if I tried to pass them. Remembering the note I received with the amulet at the very beginning of the game (thanks Zenic) that hinted that the undead are frightened by symbols, I tried using the amulet on the zombies with great success. When I came across tombstones in the maze, I thought to try placing the bouquet of flowers I’d picked up in the kitchen on them, which resulted in a wall opening up for me. All of a sudden I was starting to make some real progress In Uninvited and was genuinely enjoying things. I began to wonder whether perhaps I’d been too harsh in my earlier judgements of the puzzles, and that maybe I simply needed to get used to style of thinking that the game requires. Alas, my great run of success was about to come to a grinding halt, as logic concluded its brief visit to Uninvited and went back on permanent vacation.


I'm not sure that George Romero would be all that impressed to be honest.

Imagine if you will, that you’ve made your way through a lengthy maze and worked out how to get into a secret chamber in the centre. Once you’re in there, you see three cages at one end of a corridor with a keyhole separating them, and an oversized bouncing, grinning head shaped creature at the other. You know from a note that a particular item (a diamond) you need is hidden in the centre of the maze, and you can actually see that item resting beneath the gigantic, ecstasy taking cranium. You decide to talk to the peculiar creature and are informed that it’s trying to tell you something, but you can’t figure out what it is. You try using a few random items on it and casting a few random spells, but nothing happens. You then turn your attention to the cages, wondering if the skeleton key you found hidden inside a chair might open the lock. It does, and all three cages open, releasing a snake, a cat and a bird. You then try picking up each of the animals, but every attempt ends in the three of them devouring you due to their immense hunger.


Surely drugs were involved in the creation of this NPC

OK, so they’re hungry! I must have to give them some food, but you don’t have any on you. You reload an earlier game and walk around the house looking for something you might be able to feed them. You pick up some sugar, some salt, some rice, and whatever else you can find, and make your way back through the maze to the cages. You release the animals and try to feed them. Death. Death. Death! Hmmm...maybe you need to release the animals, then go back to the bouncing head, and then...what...push him? Totally flummoxed, you decide to follow an entirely different lead, which was given to you by a very helpful poster named Amy K. Her statement that “you need to do something in the greenhouse first” intrigues you, because you spent a bit of time in there and couldn’t find anything that you could do. This time however, you have more success, and after pouring some water on a very well camouflaged pot filled with soil, some fruit instantaneously grows before your eyes. Aha! Another food item to try feeding the animals! Surely cats, snakes and birds don’t eat fruit though?! No, they don’t, but they sure do like ripping your face off!


Well that's one way to show your gratitude

What to do next? Maybe you have to capture the animals in the cage you saw in the recreation room! That doesn’t make much sense however, as it seems a bit counterintuitive to put animals you just released from a cage into another cage, but what else do you have to lose? Well, your face I guess, but the restore button is always close at hand. You bring the cage all the way through the labyrinth, release the animals, and try to use the cage on them. Hey hey! You’ve captured the cat, and now the bird has taken the snake and flown away. OK, so you have a cat in a cage...what now? Using the cage on the head doesn’t achieve anything. You drop the cage next to the head and open it. “The cat ran away when you had your back turned.” Great! You try catching and releasing the snake with the same result. Meanwhile the grinning head jumps around eagerly, busting at the seams to tell you something of ultimate importance. Finally, in a last desperate attempt, you catch the bird and release it next to the head. The bird flies away...and the head flies after it, leaving the diamond for you to pick up. “The strange creature was utterly fascinated by the bird. It gave chase to eat it.” What?!


(speechless)

This is why I think Uninvited is a crappy game! It doesn’t make any sense at all and feeds you information that diverts you away from the solution instead of towards it. What was the bouncy head-creature so desperate to tell me? “Oh please mister, can you please, please, please find me a bird! I frickin’ LOVE birds sooooo much! Get me a bird and I’ll do anything! You can have this massive diamond that I have here in the middle of this maze! JUST GET ME A BIRD!” Apart from the few puzzles I solved just prior to the maze, the majority of my successes have been met with headshaking and disbelief of how difficult and illogical my path to victory was. To make matters worse, after gaining access to the Magisterium by putting the diamond into the diamond-shaped hole on the door (at least that makes sense!), you are immediately confronted by another “strange, hideous, creature”. This creature is described as being very angry, and it won’t let you past to get through the door behind him. I thought I’d try every item I happened to have in my inventory at the time on the creature just to see if any of them illogically worked and what do you know, the angry creature just happens to LOVE plants with fruit on it! Who designed Uninvited? An H.P. Lovecraft inspired Dr. Seuss?


From the way you're staring at me, I can tell you're a lover of fruit. Am I right??!!

Anyway, I’ve had my whinge and I feel better for it. :) I’ve now played Uninvited for 8 hours and reckon I have to be pretty close to the end, so I might as well complete the job. I’ve spent the last half an hour trying to find a clue that might help me figure out the combination for the safe in the Magisterium. I thought I’d brilliantly solved it when I looked at my notes and saw the catalogue numbers that match the metals Gold (#79), Silver (#47) and Mercury (#80). A parchment told me “Gold, silver and mercury. Together they form a key.” I was so sure that 794780 was going to be the combination, but I tried it unsuccessfully. I’m turning to the audience on this one as I’m so very keen to finish this game and move onto something else. Can someone at least give me a hint as to where the combination might be or how I might figure it out? I’m actually scared to look at my game list in case Shadowgate is coming up soon!


You die for the 859th time and must now accept defeat. Game Over

13 comments:

  1. Ah, good old text parser idiocy.

    You have the right combination, but you must have typed it in wrong. Maybe try putting hyphens between the numbers?

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  2. I second Kai's suggestion. Hyphens FTW!

    You're welcome for the greenhouse hint. :)

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  3. No worries, you have 4 games between now and Shadowgate. I'd be more worried about Maniac Mansion though. That game's crazy, with multiple paths to victory depending which of 10 kids you choose at the beginning.

    Also, seriously? Hyphens? That's insane to require that.

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  4. I haven't read the post yet, but I thought people here would love to know that the King's Quest, Space Quest, & Police Quest series are 50% off this weekend at GoG.com. http://www.gog.com/en/news/kings_quest_space_quest_and_police_quest_series_50_off_this_weekend

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    1. I honestly don't know why they don't include the EGA/VGA remakes of KQ1 and SQ1...

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  5. I don't think hyphens are *totally* insane: You normally write lock combinations XX-YY-ZZ, and that would have been how I first entered it.

    However that puzzle in the center of the maze was crazy. Not 'cat hair mustache' crazy, but crazy.

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  7. Deleted my previous comment after bothering to look it up on GameFAQs, my suggestions would have been unhelpful!

    It does look like you're not too far away from the end though, it seems sticking with it was the right idea!

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  8. Even better news: GOG now have the Trilobyte games (The 7th Guest and The 11th Hour) in their catalogue. :)

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  9. I wouldn't worry about Shadowgate. I re-play it every once in a while, and it makes WAY more sense as far as puzzles go for the most part. There are a "few" things that you have to figure out without much help, but I think you'll have a much easier time of it. It's a really great game.

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  10. I'm very pleased to read that Bobbyloathesyou! I don't mind challenging games at all, as long as the puzzles make sense when you do finally crack them. I'll go into it with a little less trepidation now. :)

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  11. If you need any hints without spoilers on Shadowgate, feel free to ask me. I'm actually playing back through it tonight, because of you!

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