Monday, 13 January 2014

Game 39: Earthrise - It Was All Going So Well!

Captain's Log, Entry 5: "I've defeated all the creatures in the base as far as I can tell, but I've still not managed to complete my mission. After achieving so much, it seems the continuation of life on Earth depends upon me finding a damn screwdriver!

Of course! Where else would I be?

My last post ended with a real WTF moment! I’d just defeated my first alien creature and stepped into what I assumed would be the Recreation Room. To my surprise, I instead found myself standing in a pleasant field, surrounded by hills and trees. Once I got over the initial shock, my logic kicked in and told me that what I was looking at must be a simulation. The scientists on the base would no doubt have missed the greenery of what we know as nature back on Earth, and must have built a simulated version on Solus. I began to look around, mapping my way as I went. I ran into walls that I couldn’t see and walked across water that wasn’t really there, but I couldn't find anything to interact with. I finally found what I was looking for when I walked towards the edge of one screen, only for a doorway to open within what for all intents and purposes looked like a tree. I walked through, and reappeared in a control room. There were a bunch of screens showing the simulated outdoor scenery, a huge machine built into the wall, and a console in the middle of the room. There was a plaque attached to the machine, so I read it: “SIB-2000 Holographic Projection System – Seeing Is Believing Optics, Inc. Clinton, Connecticut.” This SIB-2000 must be the system creating the visuals, but I could find no way to access it in any way.

Do you reckon I can turn all this water into wine? I think I'm gonna need it!

Which exactly?

Earthrise has been full of surprises really.

Checking out the console only revealed more screens, but it did draw my attention to an access panel on the back of it. I tried to open it, only to find that it was kept closed by four small screws. Further investigation revealed that they were crosspoint screws, meaning I would need a phillips head screwdriver to remove them. Damn it! I already needed a flathead screwdriver to get the panel off on the radio tower, but I hadn’t seen either variety anywhere during my travels. I’d really hoped to find something in the Recreation Room that would help me progress in Earthrise, so my failure to do so had me feeling a bit perplexed. I figured it was time to head back to the surface to see whether I could find anything to do up there with all the items I’d collected around the base. The problem was that I knew Eric the bee would die if I spent too much time up there. I decided to just let him die, check everything out as thoroughly as I could, and then restore if I happened to find something useful to do. I revisited the radio tower, the mine and the waste dump, but couldn’t uncover anything. It was only when I got to the skylight that I had a thought. I’d not been able to get into the garden beneath it from the inside, as there was a huge spider that killed me every time I tried. Perhaps I could get in from the outside?

Looks like I'm screwed again!

Does it involve wanton destruction?

I typed “hit glass”, and was told: “Unfortunately, your fists are not as strong as the glass. You had better find something better to use.” Clearly I was on the right track! I typed “hit glass with hammer”, and watched as my character hit it a few times, causing cracks to spread out across the glass. Shortly afterwards the glass burst into hundreds of pieces (20 points)! I’d made the progress I was hoping for, but soon found that there was no way I was going to get into the garden through the hole. At this stage I restored my game and quickly re-smashed the glass, returning to the base while Eric was still alive. I made my way to the Garden, hoping that the increased pressure would have killed the spider. It most certainly had! There were bits of spider and blood all over the wall, and all the planet life was also completely obliterated! When I looked at the room, I was informed that there were “some strange looking lights just under the skylight”. Further investigation revealed that they were ultraviolet lights, and that they were still working. I knew from the notes in the Research Laboratory that the gelatinous blob guarding the Mine was scared of something in the Garden, and it made sense that the creature might not like ultraviolet light. There was one problem however, which was that I couldn’t reach the lights. Any attempts were met with: “They are way too high up. You would need a mighty long ladder.”

You bet it does!

Couldn't have happened to a nicer...thing!

Well I just happened to have a mighty long ladder that would extend to ten feet, so that seemed the obvious answer. I tried all sorts of commands to make it happen, including “extend ladder”, “use ladder to get lights”, “climb ladder” etc., but nothing worked. Confused, I moved to the other half of the Garden. There I found more destruction and a door leading east. I tried to pass through the door, but was told: “The door is not automatic, so there must be a control somewhere. It’s probably behind those vines.” I wasn’t able to move the vines, but I was able to cut them with my knife (8 points). Underneath was a button, which opened the door when pressed. Through the door was a tool shed containing a bunch of gardening tools, some drums of fertilizer and some shelves. Apparently I didn’t want any of the gardening stuff, but I did find a portable lamp on one of the shelves (15 points). It turned out to be an ultraviolent light lamp, so there was no need for me to get the ones off the ceiling after all! With this new item in my possession, I raced over to the Mine and prepared to do battle with the gelatinous blob. I turned on the lamp, and then typed “point lamp at blob”. Just as I’d hoped it would, the ultraviolet rays melted the blob away, similar to the way the blob had done to me previously (20 points). Victory!

What's behind door number 564?

Aha! That's where I left my iPad!

Run away from the light Carol-Anne!

Finally I was able to explore the mine, but the first thing I discovered was that I couldn’t retrieve the pick from the ground. I passed through the door on the back wall into a storage closet, where I found a bunch of explosives, some flash cord on a hook, a pair of wire cutters, a large drill bit, and a small laser drill. As attractive as packing explosives was, I didn’t appear to be able to pick any of it up. I could however grab the wire cutters (15 points) and the laser drill (15 points). I took a closer look at the drill, and learnt that it was not only used to drill holes, it was also used as a weapon! I looked through all the descriptions of the asteroid’s creatures that I’d retrieved from the security office terminal, hoping I might find one that appeared likely to be taken down by the laser drill. I found one! “Karik: Scaly green creature with astonishing teeth. Creature has three clawed feet, which can be used as mandibles. The Karik is definitely a carnivore. The only one I have seen dead was in a smoldering heap. I couldn’t find its killer, but I assumed it was one of us. They are vulnerable to heat, and I think this is our only possible defense.” I’d seen a creature that fit the above description blocking the Administration tunnels, so I raced over there to see whether I now had the means to pass the obstacle.

Apparently I don't trust myself enough to carry explosives, yet I'm charged with saving the planet. Go figure!

Who in their right mind would call this a drill? It's a laser gun!

Confronted by the Karik, I typed “shoot creature with drill”, and grinned as I totally obliterated the thing (20 points)! I eagerly made my way further into the Administration tunnels, only to be faced by yet another large green creature! It began slowly walking towards me, which gave me time to leave the screen and have a think about how I might deal with it. Looking through the creature descriptions, I found one that represented this new threat. “Zeld: Large ugly reptilian creature. This creature has extremely large teeth, and will eat anything. I have seen them eat plants, people, their own dead. They are bullet-proof, laser proof, and I have never actually seen anyone kill one. I have seen only one dead, and that was in the garden. It had several little bumps on it that looked not unlike insect bites. These things are very mean and aggressive. The only defense I have found to be effective is flight.” Insect bites? Could this finally be the place that Eric the African bee plays a role?! I typed “release eric”, and cheered as the little guy made a “bee line” for the Zeld and stung it dozens of times. The Zeld fell over dead, and Eric flew back to the safety of his jar, no doubt very satisfied with his work (20 points). Things were going very well now, with puzzles being solved in a domino effect way. I was very keen to find out what was awaiting me in the Administration office, so continued on my way unopposed.

Each death seems to want to outdo the last one for goriness!

Sic'em Eric!

To Africa?

On reaching the office, I found it contained a desk, a planter, a cabinet, and various pictures on the wall. I investigated it all, but the only thing of importance that I uncovered was in the cabinet. There I found a welding torch (15 points), but I couldn’t think of a place where it might be useful. It seemed to me that my great run of solutions may have come to an end. I still had a few items that I hadn’t used, and one in particular was bugging me. When I’d first encountered the large crevice in the tunnel leading towards the Power Plant, I’d tried using the ladder without success. I decided to go back there and have another go. It turned out that using the ladder was exactly what I was supposed to do, it was just that the command I’d used (“use ladder” and “use ladder on crack”) hadn’t worked. This time I typed “extend ladder” and it worked! My character extended the ladder and lay it down so that I could cross the gap (10 points)! This turned out to be a little bit tricky, and my first attempt ended with me impaled on the stalagmite below. My second attempt was successful however and shortly afterwards I was looking at a rather daunting looking Power Plant. There were numerous consoles on two levels adjoined by a ladder, and there was also a noticeboard, an elevator, a regulator, a door leading north, and a circular hole in the floor containing the base’s reactor core.

I assume this artwork is no longer considered modern.

Damn parser! I tried this hours ago!

I only had eyes for the big blue wrench!

The first thing I checked out was the regulator, which was a large box on the back wall. All I was told was that it must be monitoring a huge amount of amperage and that its cables pass through the wall. I thought I might get something useful from the bulletin board, but was told that none of the three notes there were of particular interest. The claw coming down from the ceiling would obviously be used to put things in and take things out of the reactor core, but I could find no controls for it anywhere in the room. The elevator on the top floor was clearly the same one I’d seen in the waste dump. There was toxic goo pouring in from above that had made the lift unusable. All of this stuff was interesting but useless to me, but the item I found on the upper floor most certainly was not! It was a wrench, and I was particularly excited as I knew exactly where I was going to need it (15 points). I knew from my visit to the Engine Room tunnels that I would need a special wrench to turn the oxygen valve in the hole in the wall. I also knew from the database entries that the praying mantis-like creature just beyond that screen would likely be affected by this action. “Glitten: Very large insect-like creature. I have seen several of them now and they are very aggressive. They aren’t that fast, so they can be avoided easily. They have figured out how to work the airlocks and travel freely about the base. They have only been spotted in areas where the native atmosphere has leaked in. I don’t think they like our atmosphere.”

No-one can stop the claw!

Having finished my sweep of the Power Plant, I opened the door at the back of the room and walked through. It led to a tunnel that had three coloured cables running along the walls. These were obviously the same cables that connected to the regulator. I followed the tunnel along until I reached a section where I could see an obvious break in the yellow cable. “Part of the lower cable has been damaged. There appear to be scratch marks on the wall. It looks like something with three large claws slashed the cable. There isn’t a length missing, so it should be repairable.” I had a welding torch, so used it to repair the cable! “Well, you’ve scorched the insulation and charred the wall a bit, but the cable should safely carry current.” (30 points) I wasn’t sure why I needed to do this, particularly as I couldn’t think of anywhere that had power issues. The tunnel soon ended where a cave-in had blocked the way, so I left the Power Plant and made my way to the Engine Room tunnels with the wrench. As I’d hoped, I was able to turn the valve using the wrench, which let a significant amount of oxygen into the surrounding area. (20 points)  Moving into the next section of the tunnel revealed that the Glitten was dead! I’d now defeated all five creatures in the game, being the Tymak, the Brelt, the Karik, the Glitten and the Zeld, and I could now pass through into the Engine Room for the first time.

When you gotta go, you gotta go!

Still going...

Caption contest

As you would expect from its name, the Engine Room is where the massive engines built into the asteroid can be controlled. There was a force field at the back of the room protecting a long tunnel, a console in the centre of the room, and doors leading to the east and south. I checked out the console, hoping to bring down the force field. There I found two screens and a large button. “The screen on the left reads: ENGINE POWER: NOMINAL. The screen on the right reads: NAVIGATION SYSTEMS: <FAILURE>” I figured I must have fixed the engine power by repairing the cable in the Power Plant, so I was likely going to have to get the navigation systems back up to a nominal state too. I pressed the large button and wasn’t surprised to receive the following: “Nothing happens. Something must not be working.” I had no idea how or where I needed to fix the navigation systems, but I hoped it might be through either of the doors leading out of the room. I took the one to the right, reappearing in the navigation control area. Bingo! There were a large computer and a tape drive in the room, but neither of them was operational. I soon found the reason why, which was a melted fusable link in the electrical box on the wall. If I could fix the link, then the navigation systems would be back online. I looked through my inventory, but couldn’t see anything obvious. I tried using random things that I thought might fit, but was told that I would “need a sturdy wire or something”.

This is the games room right?

What's the point of the electrical box?

It seemed obvious to me, since I had a pair of wire cutters, that I would need to cut a wire from elsewhere, but before I put any thought into where I’d previously seen a loose wire, I still had another section to check out. Heading back into the Engine Room, I took the southern door, finding myself in another tunnel. Just like the tunnels running out of the Power Plant, this tunnel had cables running along the wall up until an obstacle. It seemed likely to me that this was the same obstacle and that these two tunnels would normally join up. After unsuccessfully attempting to cut some of the cable there (hey, you never know), I made my way back to the Lower Central Hub. I’d rarely found myself in a position where I simply didn’t know what to do next, but I was in one now. I figured the best approach was to revisit all the sections in the base and see if I could find something conductive, or better yet, a damn screwdriver! The main reason this seemed daunting was that I still had to look after Eric the bee while moving between different atmospheres. I’d already found the purpose of the bee, so perhaps I could now just put him back where I’d found him?! I made my way to the Research Laboratory and typed “put bee in cabinet”. It worked, and I actually got points for it (10 points)! This of course meant that I could have rid myself of Eric whenever I’d wanted to!

Surely they won't miss one little section of cable?

I also discovered that I could get ten points for every time I read the notes on the table. Check out my score!

I found several cables during my travels that I thought might be what I needed, including above the crack and in the observatory, but the game kept questioning why I was trying to sabotage things. However, when I reached the Security Office, I had what I thought was a major success! I still had no way of entering the inner office, which was behind a locked door, but I’d never tried looking at what was behind the glass. When I typed “look through glass”, I received the following: "Behind the inpenetrable security glass, you can see a bulletin board and a control panel marked Force Field Control." This gave me an idea! I typed “look at board through glasses” and was able to read what was written there! “Notice: New combination: R3L1R6L4.” Eureka! This was the combination I needed to remove the padlock at the base of the Radio Tower (5 points)! I raced over there and turned the dial right 3, then left 1, then right 6, and then finally left 4 (7 points). It popped off, and I opened the box to find...a pair of wires (7 points). These wires looked a little smaller than I thought I’d need to fix the navigation system, but I typed “cut wires with cutters” regardless. To my surprise, I was asked whether I was sure I wanted to do this! My two choices were 1. “No, I am not absolutely sure.” and 2. “Yes, just do what I say!” I figured I better save my game before answering, so selected option 1. “Right. You had better make sure there isn’t something you should do before you cut those wires.”

What a great feeling it is to solve adventure game puzzles!

For those special moments where cutting the power is essential.

I wish there was another option: "Um...why do you ask?"

Huh!? You mean up on the Radio Tower? Was I supposed to do something up there before cutting the wire? I still didn’t have a flathead screwdriver to remove the screw from the access panel, and hadn’t been able to find any other way to remove it. What was in the panel? I decided to cut the wires to see what would happen (5 points). I was told they were cut irreversibly, and worse than that, I was told the wires were useless to me anyway as they were too small. I climbed the tower and found, as expected, that there was now no power. Even if I removed the screw, I still wouldn’t be able to open the access panel now, as it could only be opened by pressing a button on the status panel (which now lacked power). Clearly I wasn’t supposed to cut the wire yet, so I restored my game. This, my friends, is where I am stuck! I have put hours into figuring out what to do next, but have to admit defeat. The only three items I have that I haven’t used yet are the pistol (which has no bullets), the filthy sock, and the “unbreakable” comb. I need two screwdrivers (flathead and phillips) to open the panels on the Radio Tower and in the Recreation Room, but I’ve been unable to find either. I also can’t get into the inner security room to remove the force field or find something suitable to repair the navigation system in the Engine Room. an official request for assistance! What the hell have I missed!?

This doesn't seem right.

I've tried really hard to figure this out! I hope it's not something simple.

Session Time: 6 hours 00 minutes
Total Time: 10 hours 30 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 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!


  1. Peekaboo! to the Poltergeists and Sam & Max references :-)

    Unfortunately I can't help you Trickster. Man, the first Request for Assistance in ages, and I had to sit this one out due to work.

  2. Seems like you made a heap of progress this time! Too bad you got stuck after all that.

    I kind of cheated a bit since I haven't played the game myself so I consulted a walkthrough, but here's a nudge forward:

    Hint 1: Rapbhagre nal ybpxrq qbbef erpragyl?
    Hint 2: Gbb onq lbh'er va na nqiragher tnzr naq abg na npgvba zbivr!
    Hint 3: Tbg nalguvat va lbhe vairagbel gung pna uryc jvgu hapbbcrengvir qbbef?
    Spoiler: Fubbg gur qbbe.

    1. Adding to Lars-Erik's hints here's Hint 1½ giving you the motivation:
      Frra nal sbepr svryqf nebhaq urer? Naq nal sbepr svryq pbageby cnaryf?

      And if you still are stuck after Lars-Erik's nudge, here's the second nudge:
      Hint 1: Lbh jba'g svg guebhtu gung ubyr, ohg jbhyq fbzrguvat ryfr svg?
      Hint 2: Fbzrguvat pncnoyr bs qrfgeblvat gur pbageby cnary?
      Spoiler: Fubbg cnary jvgu ynfre guebhtu ubyr.

  3. This is where I was stuck too. I looked it up in a walkthrough. Good luck figuring it out and getting it to work with the parser as well.

  4. Trickster: This is NOT related to your RFA, so you should NOT read it.
    Everyone else: Fb hz, qvq V zvff uvz hfvat gur onpxrq tbbqf, be qvq ur abg arrq vg gb qrny jvgu gur nyvraf?

    1. Qvq lbh zrna onxrq tbbqf? Ur unfa'g ernpurq gung cneg lrg.

    2. *fvtu* Lrf, V zrnag onxrq tbbqf. Gung vf, tbbqf genqvgvbanyyl znqr va n onxrel, abg tbbqf gung ner fbbbbb uvvvvttttuuuuuuu.

      Fb ur unfa'g orngra nyy gur nyvraf lrg, vagrerfgvat.

    3. Actually, he says he finished below, so I'm sure he has by now. Why are we still in rot13?

    4. Good point, Trickster have you read all of this stuff?

      Also I thought we kept ROT13 until the Trickster said it at the top for anyone else playing along...

    5. Was anyone aside from me and Ilmari crazy enough to play this one? I suppose there could be lurkers still plugging away at it.

    6. Shouldn't you be playing something else much more cooler than this game?

    7. Yes, I should. Hoping to have time tonight to get a post out. Flu knocked me out last week when I thought I'd have time, and now I'm back at work with tons to do since I took a vacation. Sorry all for the long delay.

  5. Caption Contest Entry: Draw me like one of your French girls.

    1. "This Glitten is not dead, it is only SLEEPING."

      Lame, I know. :-P

    2. I knew we shouldn't have mixed gloves and mittens.

    3. I love it when you play dead. Roll over, baby...

    4. Further proof that Han shot first.

  6. I've finished! Man was that puzzle a bitch!!!!!!!!!!

    1. Congrats! It'll be interesting to hear your thoughts on the game.

    2. And interesting to hear thoughts of our quite important ROT13-discussion...

    3. Whatever that was, I'm not the mastermind/ringleader/instigator! I'm a victim of circumstances! Like a serial killer armed with a knife surrounded by a bunch of fully-restrained people he hates! I can't help it!

    4. The wait until you read the ROT13 is killing me.

  7. New adventure game release on GoG: Ballads of Reemus: When the Bed Bites. The sequel is coming out later this year via a successful Kickstarter.

  8. Double Fine's adventure game: Broken Age has been released to backers! I've played a bit, and so far it's quite good.

    Wrote a little bit about it here for anyone who's interested:

    1. That is good to hear, I know a lot of people were worried when they ran out of money.

  9. Kentucky Route Zero, a Kickstarted Adventure game takes Polygon's #9 Game of the Year.

  10. I'm glad you put Eric back, even though you performed unlicensed plastic surgery on him and made him half-a-bee. Good thing you let him keep his stinger, smart thinking. I assume you put him back in his original container and not the airtight one? And left him some cake as thanks for the help?

    1. That's gotta worth 10 points for good Karma!

  11. How does this barren little rock support five species of large predator? Do they just eat each other?

    1. I wouldn't say it's supporting them. There are only one of each left, so deposited here or last of their kind.