Sunday, 15 February 2015

Game 47: Spellcasting 101: Sorcerers Get All the Girls - Won!

By Aperama

Ernie Eaglebeak's Journal #6: “Well, that went faster than I'd thought! I'm an honest-to-god hero! I'm gonna save the world! I've graduated! I know all sorts of spells! Well.. I did before I burnt my spellbook. Back. Back, back. After I found the picture of a boa on the surfboard, I realised why it was hidden – it was the way to the very Isle of the Gods itself! After.. doing my humanly duty with Ocarina, Glockenspiel was quite upset that his wife was willing to spend more time with me – but all of the gods forgot pretty quickly when I wiped the legendary garbage dump of the gods clean. I worked out from the brazen trail of breadcrumbs that were left that I was going to have to head down to Fort Blackwand – and sure enough, everything all came to a head. I fought not one, but two mythical beasts, saved my beloved Lola Tigerbelly, and even found out that Joey Rottenwood was the one behind it all after everything! It was pretty satisfying to not only foil his plans, but to cover him from head to toe in whale poop. Anyhow, enough of this journal schtick – it's time I got to know my Lola's.. shopping habits. Sigh. The chores of being a hero..”


Level 5! If only I had some level 5 spells to cast..

I'll admit that while it's felt like a slog from time to time, Spellcasting has actually been quite enjoyable and hasn't actually dragged as much as it has felt it has. All of the puzzles have been largely logical, albeit hindered by the parser and often difficult to work out from what information was given all too often. Not being crazy long is doubtless its strong suit, though. I reckon that with my list of KABBULed names (I kept them all in a separate set of notes) I could probably beat the entire game within about 20 minutes of rote typing now. Anyhow, enough bragging. The opening to the Island of the Gods was quite difficult to comprehend to me – the island is 'locked'. How do you lock an island? Yeah, I'm not sure on this one either. (There's no keyhole.) However, back at the Isle of Bad Puns And Typing 'KABBUL' Heaps – er, the Isle of Lost Soles – we received a 'key'. It wasn't a key to their township, their island, themselves – it was just the only key they could find to give me out of appreciation. But sure enough? It's the key to unlock the very ISLAND OF THE GODS!

All too often this happens! It literally gives you an exact word on screen then won't react to it.
Also just missing in this screenshot: 'You see nothing special about the Condo of the Gods'. ARGH!

The majority of the rooms within this area are actually quite benign. I'm willing to give it credit for at least thinking of a few clever lines – you can VAI (heal) all of the flowers and bushes et al in the Garden, but on trying to GUB (disease) them they either give 'it must be a GUB-resistant strain' or 'I hope you don't think we'd bother making a version of this picture without the flowers just so you could go around casting the stupid GUB spell.' There are lots of things to interact with (well, look at) – but unfortunately, there's not much more to them. The opening room to the Condo of the Gods is a large chamber with entrances to the Garbage Dump of the Gods to the north (living for all of eternity creates quite the landfill, y'see), the room to the east with the condo of Bagatelle, Goddess of peace, and Baccarat, God of war (split perfectly in the center like any number of old sitcoms where 'lines were drawn' between two characters).. and a similar line created between Ocarina, Goddess of Beauty, and Glockenspiel, God of Ugliness, to the west. If one was to have been paying attention back in class (or had they read Ernie's notes), they'd know that both of these two halves were the lovers which created the realm of Peloria through arguments, death and marriage. Essentially, to give a contemporary example, the entire creation of Ernie's home world was an episode of Game of Thrones.

… 'the same headache for sixteen hundred years?'
I'm suggesting that she could do with some really good paracetamol.


Turns out that the Goddess of Beauty doesn't share my love for naked jogs through gardens...





Upon hearing arguing voices, Ernie has the opportunity to hide behind the drapes and ignore the sounds of a lovers' tiff. See, it turns out that Glockenspiel believes that Ocarina has been enjoying herself with other men while ignoring her poor Godly husband. Being the embodiment of Mr. Eaglebeak, I do my utmost to be the true gallant gentleman and offer her the opportunity to show Mr. Glockenspiel that his worries are unfounded – she instead goes on to swiftly turn Ernie into a seven foot tall weightlifter with, as I quote from the game, 'a little love monkey that turns into King Kong'. (Un)fortunately, this only lasts rather shortly – Ernie deflates in more ways than one after enjoying himself with the Goddess.. who steals one of his cigarettes. (He's not even a smoker. I'm beginning to think he's getting advantage taken of him!) She gives him a GWEEK spell box for his troubles – 'shrink inanimate objects'. Glockenspiel chooses now to run in on Ernie – and in trying to find a suitable punishment decides that he can spend the rest of eternity cleaning up the venerable Garbage Dump of the Gods!



Or, y'know, he can just GWEEK the garbage to tiny-size,
then BUNDEROT it to decompose it into nothing. Works, too.

The puzzle itself wasn't particularly difficult to solve, so a quick zap or two and all that's left is a GOBERDUNA spell box – 'tie or untie mighty knots'. As it's unlocked, dozens of gods begin to flock out into the newly-cleaned Big Empty Field of the Gods (patent pending), all declaring that they have their own thoughts as to what this new empty swathe of space could be used for. As they begin to fight, Ernie decides to invoke the better part of valour and run while the going's good. As I've gotten through everything on the map, it's pretty clear that the next stop is the place noted in almost every island that has mentioned what happened around about the time their individual Great Attachment™ to the Sorcerer's Appliance – they had a visit from the seamstresses over at Fort Blackwand. It's one of the only three visitable places on the map that is inland and not shown by a symbol rather than a little 'shield' map dot in the game – there are about a dozen red herring areas to make the game look far larger than it actually is to the outside observer.

Only problem with this plan is the gigantic sea monster..

The Loch Pik Monster was one of those covered in Ernie's General Magic 101 class – it was considered something of a legend. I didn't even have the opportunity to puzzle over it – there wasn't much information given by looking at it, and I just randomly started casting some spells on it to see if it made any difference. Turns out it's quite long, though, and to 'tie a mighty knot' with it is enough to snap its neck. GOBERDUNA Loch Pik monster? RIP Loch Pik Monster.. oops. Plus side? Chapter eight!

I don't understand what screwing has to do with sorcery.
Did this become Handyman's University 101: The Quest To Fix IKEA Furniture?

The game drops us from the lagoon into a room that.. looks identical to the rooms given in the Simulation Lab back at SU! Hope that you weren't like me and didn't leave the sword in the Amazonian shop! I figured I could always go back given the encumbrance kicked in when I tried to pick it up.. instead, I speedran back from first landing on their island. (I lost the lipstick so I couldn't escape the island after retrieving it without restarting.) So after replaying the previous two posts or so.. GUB tree. ZEM me. South. Kill dragon with lead-plated sword that I totally didn't leave back there and ruin Ernie's chance of being the hero with. VAI ivy. Climb ivy. Pull lever. Unchain damsel...


Find childhood crush. Proceed to wonder if unchaining her is the right move
(clearly, because her captors will work out she was unchained – not for any other reasons!)

Turns out that 'he's' down a trap door with 'that machine', or so Lola tells us. The 'machine' is clearly the Sorcerer's Appliance, so the only real question here is as to who exactly 'he' is. I'll admit that my mind innately came up with a few ideas regarding some sort of rival we'd made in our opening few weeks off screen – or, indeed, an angry professor who was somewhat less than impressed with the present establishment of SU. After trying to.. show my appreciation for Lola's fine assets (which in a first was not successful), I found her purse – filled with the essentials. A compact (which Ernie is quick to assure himself he is quite spiffy looking with), a credit card, a tampon, a flame thrower. Just the typical stuff most girls keep in their handbags, I'm fairly sure you'll find. Still, down the trapdoor? A puzzle! It's pretty obvious, though it very nearly again stumped me. There are three coloured 'x's with three correspondingly coloured gates. They each need to be stepped upon to bring up the gate. Ernie's one, and Lola climbed down with us, which just leads us needing a third person or something heavy. I've already lost the lead-plated sword from killing the atomic dragon just prior, so there's nothing in my inventory of note, and BLUBBA just kills us both by flooding the room with whale meat. The only thing in here is a painting of a landscape with a lamp pointing towards it inside..

Three points if you thought of this as soon as you heard I needed a third body


But more importantly – the EVIL END BOSS!
(The graphics often invert every time the 'loading' screen comes up and I'm not sure why)


Thanks for letting us know, Lola! Thanks a bloody well lot!

It turns out that instead of being an angry professor or the like, it's a scorned ex-student that was expelled – and that someone is Joey Rottenwood, Ernie's awful stepfather! He knows of the little prophecy that our mother was trying to let us know about, which is exactly why he married her – it doesn't exactly explain what that prophecy is – but I digress. Joey's plan is to use the Sorcerer's Appliance to supercharge himself with magic, create a rival school to SU and show them how great he is. The problem with his little plan is that nobody actually knows what this is likely to do (hint from if you allow him to: they name the resultant mess that clears out the majority of southeastern Peloria as 'Rottenwood Crater') – he's just learned how to use it in the terms of 'making it work'. In the same way that George W. Bush probably knew that the red button under his desk 'made the nukes work'. Trying to cast any spells results in Joey smacking us for our efforts – and even with ZEM cast, Ernie's not ready to undo years upon years of ingrained beratings and beatings alike and just smack him. The flamethrower doesn't work, either.




 

The final puzzle of the game. We needs us some whale poop! Problem? Three turns!
We distract Joey by giving him the popular book back from the SU library which is simply too good for him to put down, stopping him from pushing both buttons of the Appliance at once (the explosive option) – but as he settles down to read, he hits the red self destruct lever next to the Appliance. Nobody offers to help out, naturally – we're the protagonist in an adventure game! Dammit, we're the only one who can do anything. So, we need to drop seven tons of whale poop into a convenient receptacle of the Appliance – in three turns. BLUBBA and EKLAKSIA are the clear solution – but there's a problem. Casting BLUBBA has the pressure of a whale dropping from the air force the spellbook out of our hands, and EKSLAKSIA on the ground is clearly what we need to do on it from there. This one took me a little as the nature of 'spell boxes' was never really explained, but it appears that they search for the easiest place to ply their trade once invoked through the book – the obvious stopping spot being a spellbook. After casting BLUBBA to put the whale in its place, we need to use Lola's flame thrower on our own spellbook – then, as we open the EKSLAKSIA box, everyone is given the impetus to begin losing the contents of their collective stomachs.. including the whale, who overfills the receptacle and then some to spray over Joey. Oops! The collective entirety of SU turns out to have been captured around, so everyone gets freed – including Ernie's true dad, who hadn't died after all! A happy ending! Well, sort of..




Fourth wall breaking plot twists? Check!






Can't say I wasn't thorough!

Session Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 7 hours

6 comments:

  1. > the nature of 'spell boxes' was never really explained

    The manual does have this paragraph:

    "However, if you open a spell box when your spell book isn't present, the spell
    will be cast into thin air. While the spell may seek out something in the room,
    there is no guarantee that it will be the target you intended, and remember that
    the spell will then be gone forever."

    ...but it's not very probable that anyone really notices it.

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    1. I essentially tried everything on everything at the last. In truth the main reason I burned my spell book was because I'd tried it on everything else. (I wanted to flambe Rottenwood before we all died in an explosion anyway and burned my spell book instead of the popular one he was holding.)

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    3. Having the final puzzle require you to torch your spellbook is a clever way to solve the narrative problem "why don't I have all my cool stuff from the previous game when I start the sequel?"

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  2. Congrats, Aperama!

    Also, A compact, a credit card, a tampon and a flame thrower in a Lola's handbag? One of those things clearly does NOT belong there and I call bullshit. A girl like Lola will only have a Supplementary Card from her sugar-daddy.

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  3. Ha, KABBUL ART actually is a thing, hope I didn't spoil that for anyone!

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